BPP 165: Hannah Chia - Learning Photography One Bite At A Time

Hannah Chia is a vegan food blogger from Portland Oregon. She photographs her recipes and then shares the delectable looking images for the world to see. Today I am excited to chat about the impact learning photography has had on her success.

In This Episode You'll Learn:

  • How Hannah got her start in photography

  • The hardest part about photography for Hannah to learn

  • Why Hannah upgraded from her cell phone to a DSLR to photograph her food

  • What is food styling

  • How to start food styling

  • The importance of dishware

  • How Hannah takes flat lay photos

  • The camera gear Hannah uses to photograph food

  • The importance of lighting food

  • How Hannah was able to keep her look consistent after moving across the country

  • How many photos Hannah takes per recipe

  • How to achieve a photography style

  • Signs of an amateur food stylist and photographer

Resources:

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Did you enjoy this episode? Check out more recent interviews with other great guests!

Full Episode Transcription:

Disclaimer: The transcript was transcribed electronically and may contain errors that do not reflect accurately what the speaker said. Because of this, please do not quote this automated transcript.

Raymond: 00:00 I hope you're hungry because today on the beginner photography podcast, we talk all about photographing food. So let's get into it.

Intro: 00:08 Welcome to the beginner photography podcast with Raymond Hatfield, the podcast dedicated to helping you grow your photography skills. Raymond interviews the world's top photographers in their field to ask questions that will get you taking better photos today. Now, with you as always, husband, father, home brewer, La Dodger Fan, and Indianapolis wedding photographer, Raymond Hatfield. Welcome. Come back

Raymond: 00:37 The podcast. As always, I am Raymond Hatfields and today I haven't interviewed that a is going to get you thinking differently about photographing food from somebody who got into photography simply because she loved to cook. So really fun to interview. I'm excited to get into it. But first I wanted to share with those of you who are not in the beginner photography podcast, Facebook group. This week, I released a set of 52 free Lightroom presets for you to download. So for many, just getting started, editing can be, I know it, it can be intimidating, time consuming, and you know, you never know when you're done. And the truth is Lightroom presets are simply the fastest way to transform your images and bring consistency to your work. So that you can, you know, just make simple adjustments and then get back to shooting. So to get the presets and access to these step by step installed video, all you gotta do is just head over to learn dot beginner photography, podcast.com, forward slash courses.

Raymond: 01:40 And then you will find it right there. You just sign up, download and get editing. Again. That is learn l e a r n. Dot. Beginner photography podcast.com forward slash courses. So before we get into today's interview, I just wanted to give a real quick congratulations to Roseanne. So Roseanne actually left the podcast, a glowing review in iTunes where she shares the story of how for years she was a quote unquote scaredy cat and intimidated by her camera. But you know, all on her own by listening and implementing what she had learned from the podcast and from the guest, she ventured out of her comfort zone and with time is now has full control of her camera and is shooting in manual. So Roseanne, massive congratulations to you. I cannot wait to see some of your photos once you post them in the Facebook group.

Raymond: 02:41 Okay. So let's go ahead and get into today's interview. Oh, and another shout out to a Risa who actually opened up my eyes to today's guest. So thank you. Reset for that. If you are feeling unsure of your photography or that you know you're not a natural, I I know that you're going to have a lot of takeaways from this interview as Hannah is relatively new to photography herself, but she's been using photography to fuel her larger passion. So just take a quick moment to check out the show notes of this interview so that you can see a samples of some of her work. It is truly a lovely and incredible stuff. So with that, let's go ahead and get into this week's interview right now. Henna Chia is a food blogger from Portland, Oregon. She photographs her recipes and then shares those delectable looking images for the world to see on her blog today.

Raymond: 03:34 I'm excited to chat with her about the impact that learning photography has made for her and and her success. So, Hannah, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. I am excited to talk to you today for a few reasons. One, obviously because looking over your blog, you are able to create fantastic images of a, of something that, you know, seemingly everybody has access to right food. And yet here you are making something incredible that that not many people can do. And then second, because I just love talking about food and that's just a fantastic thing to spend the next hour of my life. But before we do get into that can you share with the listeners a little bit about yourself and what it is that you do and how you got into photography?

Hannah Chia: 04:22 Yeah. So currently I'm a full time food blogger and a food photographer. Slash. Stylist. I actually started doing this two years ago when I was in Grad school. So I'm a pianist, classical pianist, and I was in school for piano performance and it's basically one summer. I just decided, you know what, I like photography, I love food and I will, I'm also a begin. And so I had a passion for making Vegan recipes and sharing them. And it was initially just with my friends because they'd be like, oh, so what do you eat as a Vegan? And I'd be like, okay, let me start this Instagram account where I would basically document my meals that then I think I gradually didn't, I wasn't as satisfied just with like at first I just used my iPhone, you know, and just like to close. But then I want to explore more of the, just like styling and more photography. And I had a camera then a digital camera that I didn't really use. I just kind of had it because I was like, oh, I want to get into photography eventually. But this was a great avenue for me to actually start using it and yeah, so I'll start from there. I started posting more. I started my blog, the website, and then it kind of just [inaudible] progressed from there.

Raymond: 05:41 Interesting. So it all started simply because you wanted to prove to your friends that that Vegan food is tasty and looks appetizing.

Hannah Chia: 05:49 Yeah.

Raymond: 05:52 So then you started posting your photos on Instagram and then after, I'm assuming the success that you had had posting these photos on Instagram, you decided to start the blog, is that correct?

Hannah Chia: 06:01 Yes. And I also wanted to space like a more permanent space to place the recipes. So I could direct people like, Oh, where is that recipe for this dish? I just feel like you can just find out my blog.

Raymond: 06:13 Yeah, no, I love it. So so your love for food came before photography and then your love of photography facilitated making more food, is that right? Yes. Okay. Gotcha. Cool. So when you first started out photographing your food, all these amazing dishes, and if anybody's listening right now please check out the show notes. There's, there's a bunch of, of photos of Hannah's of her recipes that she makes. And if you've ever you know, wanting to get into vegan cooking, I promise you this is the place to do it. In fact, she has a recipe for spicy, is it Korean? A cauliflower wings that I purchased all the ingredients for it. And I'm super excited to try out this weekend because it looked so fantastic. So fantastic.

Hannah Chia: 07:00 Cauliflowers and magical ingredients.

Raymond: 07:02 It is, right. I know. We got, we gotta we gotta use more cauliflower in our lives. So when you first started making these recipes and then you, you just photograph them with your phone, what was the, what was the hardest part about the photos that you were getting and what kind of made you feel like you had to step it up to the digital camera, the DSLR, whatever was the next progression.

Hannah Chia: 07:27 [Inaudible]. Yeah, I think honestly my phone took pretty good photos and I was, I think it did really well with I guess more like flat lays. So if I wanted to take an overhead shot of a few dishes there were pretty sharp images, but I think I just want to play rounds mostly with light room and with editing. And I felt like, oh, I wanted to do certain things to make the colors pop out more. I wanted, I'm particularly drawn to more like rustic looking images. So I wanted to experiment more with like darker photos and using more shadows, more contrast. And I felt just like editing on my phone didn't really quite get me that. And so that was when, and also wanted to take more photos that were like from the side. And so you can have like that blurry backgrounds. I just, I was really drawn to those types of inches. And so that's when I kind of started just moving away from the phone and using my DSR.

Raymond: 08:24 So you said earlier that you just had a digital camera, was that already a, a DSLR? And is that what you started shooting with?

Hannah Chia: 08:31 Yes, it was a DSLR. I got it off of another student. We had like those students selling stuff, pay Facebook page and so it's a pretty old model. I'm actually, it's still the one that I'm using now and I just, it was like the body with just the camera body. And so I started researching, oh, what kind of lens should I use for food photography? And so I decided to get like a Prime Lens, which is pretty cheap too. Yeah, so that was the camera body we used. And then I got a prime lens specifically for food photography.

Raymond: 09:07 And you said that you're still using that camera buddy? Yes, I still could you tell me what camera it is?

Hannah Chia: 09:12 Yeah, it's an icon. D 90.

Raymond: 09:14 Okay. Yeah. So that is, that is an older body, but that's, that's fantastic. Now this is what I love to hear. So many people think that obviously, you know, gear is what makes the photos and here is proof that this, I believe it's like a seven or six or seven year old cam and the d 90 is, and yet that you're able to create these, these fantastic images. And as you said you know, it's all in the glass and playing with with light and stuff. That's awesome. So when you first started using the DSLR rather than your phone did you already have an idea of how to work a camera or or did you have to learn photography from the ground up?

Hannah Chia: 09:54 I had previously been using a DSLR to just take pictures of people like my family and my friends, but I primarily just use the, I just one of the auto settings or the ave mode, I think it was, yeah. But then I was like, oh, I really want to learn how to use the manual mode. And so I really had no idea at that point how to manipulate like the shutter speed and opportunity and all that. So I think what it did was just a lot of googling and looking in the manual. And just seeing also, I was doing a lot of research on people who also did through blogging and some of them have like their aperture settings on there and like what shutter speed they use. And then I was like, okay, this is what ISO means. So it's just doing a lot of research primarily myself.

Raymond: 10:43 So did you ever see one of these other photographers settings and then try to use it in your own work and realize, oh, this, this doesn't work at all or something, something's not right here.

Hannah Chia: 10:52 Yeah, you can't because the light conditions vary so much.

Raymond: 10:57 Absolutely. So then what, so what was, what was the struggle, right. So once you learned what aperture, shutter speed and ISO were, even though you were using settings from other photographers, where was that struggle? And I guess how did you, how did you overcome that?

Hannah Chia: 11:13 It was just a lot of trial and error. I think endo helps that I had a very consistent lighting setup, so I just picked a spot. It was in my old department in Houston, but it was just a really nice window. And it was kind of like a diffused light because there's a tree outside the window going to blocking direct sunlight. And so had I had really good lighting and I think that for me was the key. And that's when my photography started getting a lot better was just figuring out, okay, this is the learning that I have. And think honestly for food photography or any photography in general, lighting is just critical. And then it was after that I set up the lighting or I set up the, I guess camera where it was and then figuring out what were the best settings. And so I started using manual mode and I think I just bumped down the aperture. Really, I'm a lot lower so I could get more of like that depth of fuels in the backgrounds. Yeah. So it was a lot of trial and error essentially.

Raymond: 12:18 Yeah, no, I would, I would imagine especially with that, that's great that as you said, you know, you kind of have this one consistent which was this window and a, the quality of light that was coming inside, which I'm sure would make it a a whole lot easier to or, or would give you the ability to quickly learn those settings rather than having to change the light and then figure out what to do every single time. Cause that would, that would just be a mess for sure. So when you first got that DSLR, when you first started taking pictures and then you would bring them into light room, where you getting what it was that you wanted out of these photos or what were you hoping to get out of using it, using your DSLR?

Hannah Chia: 13:01 Probably just image quality. And one critical thing for me was switching to Ra are shooting in raw and because I liked to play a lot with white balance. So you can, when you shoot in raw you can, like a lot of information is carried over. And especially I like to shoot really low lower exposure pictures. So just darker photos. And I feel like when I, once I started shooting in raw and transferring it over to light room, then I was like, oh, okay, I can do so much more with these images because I'm not losing all this information from just shooting like jpeg. [inaudible]

Raymond: 13:41 Right. Yeah. Light Room is, is one of those things that once you figure it out it's like this whole, this whole other world of photography just completely opens up with the, with the ideas and the, and the possibilities. That's cool. So I think I could be wrong cause I'm not a a food photographer, but taking a photo of food is one thing, but kind of the next progression is styling those images, which is a completely other thing in and of itself. So for those who don't know, can you explain what food styling is and maybe share your first experiences styling your own food?

Hannah Chia: 14:21 Yeah, so food styling is the process of taking the food and I guess manipulating it a ways so that it looks more appealing on camera. Because I think any food really like, oh look good to you, but sometimes it just doesn't translate well into photos and so has a lot to do with using props. I'm doing a lot of layering with like using Napkins and putting the plate, like putting the plate here instead of there or adding silverware or adding like small dishes with on the side kind of also in the frame. [inaudible] And yeah, so a lot of that too was trial and error kind of figuring out what looked the best. Along the way I think I started just developing my own sense of I guess personal aesthetic, like what I liked, I'm in my photos and then just carrying that on over to, I feel like most of my photos have like a similar kind as this aesthetic. And I also use the same prompts for a lot of the images too.

Raymond: 15:23 Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So w w w what got you into the food styling? Was it simply kind of being in that world of food photography and seeing that this is not naturally how I would set up my table? Maybe I should add these things or was it, were you taking photos and thinking there's something missing here and then, and then going deeper?

Hannah Chia: 15:41 I think it's a combination of both. And also just seeing a lot of other photographers work. I noticed one particular, I guess style is having like that kind of messy look. And I'm like, when I'm eating, I want my table to be clean, you know, it's just the plate there, my fork. But in order to make food look more appealing, a lot of times you will like scatter a little bit of, let's say if it's like Chia seed or whatever on the side. And to have that really like messy hony kind of lived in look and a lot of inspiration I took just from looking at other people's photos and seeing what they did, seeing the props that they used and the little details that they were focusing on. So I think a flew styling a lot of times just comes down to details.

Raymond: 16:28 Isn't that weird how a Messier House looks, makes food look better? I know exactly what you're talking about. Like my wife likes to just go off and like create, she'll get a, like these ideas of like, you know what, I'm gonna Start Baking bread. And I'm like, okay, yeah, let's do this or whatever. So then she'll look at recipes on Pinterest or wherever it is. And all of these photos are like this flower everywhere and there's jars for, and I'm thinking like, like whose kitchen, you know, naturally looks like this. It should definitely be cleaner. But that's hilarious. That's, that's one of those things that I think if I was taking a photo of food, I would try to make it look as clean as humanly possible rather than trying to add these these elements everywhere. So aside from just kind of trial and error was there, was there anything else that you did to, to go out in and learn food styling? Cause I would imagine that food styling for say Asian cuisine is going to be different than like what we just said with like, like baked goods and stuff.

Hannah Chia: 17:27 Hmm. Yeah, that's true. I think for a lot of Asian cuisine, the dishes that are used are a little bit different. And so a lot of porcelain particularly for Chinese cuisine. And I think I just noticed that in a lot of the photos that I was drawing inspiration from and thinking back to, oh, I remember this dish that's like, my parents use had this like old bowl. It's like a blue and white kind of porcelain bowl that they just use everyday for like rice or things like that. And so I was like, okay, I want to kind of find that type of ball or even little things like finding, using like gold silverware. And mine was just from like target. It was pretty cheap. I think once I started using gold, silver, I was like, oh, I thought it was look a lot better.

Hannah Chia: 18:19 Yeah. So I think a lot of the times when I set up a photo too, I would have different dishes or different bowls and different plates then use and then I would swap them out. And so it'd be the same exact food. And a lot of times I'll switch out the background too in the middle of the shoe if I was like, okay, I don't really like how this like clashes with if it's like a cooler toned background and matched better with like a warmer tone color or warmer tone food. Sometimes I'd have like a warmer tone, like a wooden background and then the food itself would be like orange. And then I'm looking at it and be like, okay, that doesn't look as great as it could. And so I'd like Swish it out even in the middle of the same recipe shoots. And then later on just like seeing it in my computer to be like, okay, I can see what works and what really didn't. And so I think it was just being open to experimenting a lot. Yeah. It's cause because sometimes you might have this crazy idea to like, do this and then in my like totally fail, but sometimes it just like works out really well.

Raymond: 19:25 I love that. So then side question, how many sets of dishware do you own? Because looking at your photos, I mean, well I, I, you know, you wouldn't be able to tell by looking at your website. It's, and that's another thing that I wanted to bring up is, is I, I don't know if you did any sort of research on on color theory or figuring it out, like what colors compliment others, but you just pretty much talked upon that, that, that subject right there, that having orange food doesn't look good on a, with a wooden background and then trying out those different things. Is that simply just experience or, or did you, did you look for complimenting colors and and try to bring that into your photography?

Hannah Chia: 20:14 Yeah, that's some, the concept I, I was like intentionally thinking about and because I feel like in the past I've always been like more, I guess artistic when it came to like my hobbies and what I want to do. And so I did a lot of like painting and in that and painting you were like, the teacher will tell you about like color theory. And so I always kind of had that in the back of my head. And then thinking of, okay, when it comes to food, the same concepts apply to this because it's all just, it's still like a visual portrait instead of like drawing something you're trying to accurately or you're trying to capture it as you see it in your eyes with your eyes. Or even just enhancing colors to make it look even better.

Raymond: 20:59 Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. What are some, what if somebody is just getting started and you know, they're at home, they're making a recipe themselves. Are there some simple props that you would recommend that are just, you know, good for, for most beginners to get started when styling their food?

Hannah Chia: 21:15 Yeah. one thing is just having some like tablecloths or napkins or not, not tablecloths, but like smaller like linen napkins. I think even just if you have one dish and nothing else, if you put like a Napkin kind of like swirled on the side or folded underneath the plate, just that one thing itself can add a lot of visual interest.

Hannah Chia: 21:41 Another tip that I have would just be to think of like layering. And so you have like the plan, you have the backgrounds and then you have your dish. But if you try to think of like, okay, what can you do to create more layers in terms of like the height, so you can put like two plates together or have

Hannah Chia: 22:03 Let's say like you have different bowls. That's another tip I would have is just like using smaller bowls and putting ingredients in the bowls and putting them kind of off in the side or in the corner so that you can see them when you're looking at them, but you don't want it to be too busy. So there's always a balance. I think one, there was a period where my photos started getting really busy because I was just like, okay, how many things can crown to this one photo? But then it would take attention away from the actual dish. And so I think it's just playing around with that balance. It's pretty important, but just having like maybe two or three other elements in the photo apart from just

Raymond: 22:46 The plaintiff of food. So a little bit of height and a linen, a Napkin or tablecloth just to get started. And Gold Silverware.

Hannah Chia: 22:56 Okay. That is not necessarily a good start. Yeah, it's

Raymond: 23:00 Definitely going to be something that stands out. I think not everybody has golden silverware, but if I saw a picture of gold silverware, I would look at it for sure and take notice. Yeah. so let's talk about that flat lay shot that you were talking about earlier with the with the phone phone makes it easy to do that flatly shot. Now that you've got the DSLR does the d 90 have an articulating screen or is it, it's flat on the camera. Okay. So when it comes to that, I'm sure that you have some sort of, you know, tripod, you know, with a camera pointing down. Risa in the beginner photography podcast, a community who asked me to reach out to you and said, check out her work. She's fantastic. Follows you on Instagram, your work and she wants to know what your setup is, right? Do you use a remote to take the photos and how do you make sure that your photos are in focus?

Hannah Chia: 23:55 Yeah, good question. So until about like three months ago, I actually did not use a tripod and all of my overhead shots are taken pretty much just with me almost standing on the table. I gotta have a stool next to it. And so I would literally just be like bending over the food with my camera to take these photos. And I really liked the freedom of like having different angles. I can be like, okay, I want to take it from this angle and then take it from overhead shot. And so I liked moving around a lot, but it translated to sometimes the photos will not be as sharp as I would've liked. And I didn't really notice this on the camera, but then when I uploaded it into my room, I'd be like, oh, okay. That wasn't as crisp as or as sharp as I wanted it to be.

Hannah Chia: 24:45 And it was a lot of just because of like the motion, I was literally quoting my camera over these shots. And so I got to try it. But that was actually pretty recent and it's made a big difference I think in just being able also to have it there. And I would set on a timer so it'd be, I think it was like 10 seconds timer. And the tripod I had was, I got like a Manfrotto tripod so it was pretty sturdy one and it came with like a overhead arm. So that's primarily what I use now. So I touch it to the end. And the table that I have, the arm just extends over the table. And so I feel like that's been [inaudible] it's been helpful to have a tripod, but I don't think it was like exactly essential because for the first, like two years of what I did for most of the photos I have on my website, they were taking just kind of like just standing over food.

Raymond: 25:46 So now, now that you're knocked, I'm able to view the screen or I guess how do you, how do you still compose the photos? Are you still using the stool and then if so a, is that how you focus your image before taking?

Hannah Chia: 25:58 Yes, I still use that, although I'm thinking of doing some like tethering. But that's still just like, I'm still like researching that, but I think it would be a lot easier if I could like connect it.

Raymond: 26:10 That's some next level stuff right there. Yeah. so your, your website, it says on it that though, when you first got started with your blog, you would take those dishes to your window that we were talking about earlier just to get the best life that you could. Are you still primarily using window light or do you have some new tricks now that you're using to to, to light your photos?

Hannah Chia: 26:36 Well I'm still using natural lighting, but I moved actually about, I moved in May, I wasn't originally in Houston and I moved to Portland and after that move I realized how lucky I was with my previous window set up just because I did not have to think about the light at all. It was just perfect. Most of the time it was really great direct but diffused lighting. And I think I was just lucky with that where the window was. But then when I moved here there was also great natural lighting. But then I kind of had to figure out how to manipulate the light to look kind of the same way as my previous setup had been. And what I discovered, and I think this applies to especially the food photography, is that you don't want light coming from several sources. So the common thing that people will think is like, oh, okay, I just want to take this photo in summer.

Hannah Chia: 27:30 That's really well lit, like with really good lighting. But the problem with that is sometimes if you have several windows and light is kind of coming from the side and coming from the front, the photo itself ends up, ends up, ends up not looking back. Great. And I think it's because of there are too many sources of writing. And so what I had to do actually was get a few blackout curtains. And so my living room or the dining room, it's like connected to one room has really great natural bites, but there were just too many windows. And so I had to take a few blackout curtains. I also got this thing on Amazon where you essentially just put like velcro strips around the windows. So you essentially block out the light from all the windows except for one. And I think once they did that, then the images really pop because of that direct light from one source. And then I also got a diffuser because I felt the light was a little bit too bright. And sometimes when it was sunny outside, which you wouldn't think would happen here in Oregon, especially in the summer when it was just too bright. Having a diffuser really helped [inaudible] as well. And so I had to do a lot more with manipulating the light too. Look the way I wanted to really make the images pop. Versus before I think I was just lucky.

Raymond: 28:50 Yeah. Sorry I didn't, how did you kind of figure all this stuff out? How did you like walk into this room? W was it that you started taking photos and you just thought this isn't what I wanted at all? And then you, so, okay. So then from there you knew that you had to block out some, some light sources. Where do you, where did you get that idea? Is that just something that you had picked up over time or, or, or did you go to the Internet to try to find answers?

Hannah Chia: 29:19 I think I kinda just picked it up because I was shooting the same way that I did back in my old place. But the photos just are not coming out well. And I was like, oh no, my food blog is ruined if I don't have good lighting. Like what do I got? Moved back, you know? But then I started looking at my photos mean like, what is it about this sliding that is so magical? And then I just discovered, okay, it's because the room apart from that light, from that one window was dark. And so you had all these great shadows. And then once I figured that out, I was like, how do I imitate this in my new place? And so a lot of that was just blocking out all the, which is funny to say. You would think that like having a really bright room, it would be great for her photography. I've actually blocking out a lot of the light save for just one source. Really.

Raymond: 30:15 Maybe the difference. Yeah. You know, it's funny, I've heard that from a lot of other photographers who shoot at home. Like even portrait photographers Boudway or photographers, family photographers, they're like, you know, we got this a, a this wall of windows. But the majority of the time I block out like 80% of it just to get this nice sliver or this this, this beautiful quality of light. And that's very cool to to hear it from somebody who photographs a food as well. I also loved how you obviously sharing did you, did, you kind of figured it out, you reverse engineered it, right? And you went back and you looked at your old photos and you thought to yourself, what is it that works here? And now I have to make it work here. And that is something that I don't think enough photographers do is go back and look at their old photos and try to figure out either what works or what doesn't work and then try to to improve.

Raymond: 31:00 So that's, that's awesome. That is, that's so great to hear. When, when I was looking at some of your recipes I noticed that you have, I think like the, the, the typical shot pretty much like the, the cover photo or whatever. Like on the home page where it shows all the recipes. It's pretty much that math flatly shot. Right. But then when you click on a recipe, there are like a dozen photos. There's a bunch of photos, different angles, you know, getting your hands dirty and getting in there. So for any given dish that how many photos are being are being taken?

Hannah Chia: 31:38 Probably like 150

Raymond: 31:40 150. Wow. Okay. So then in that time, is it, is it you taking the photos, is it somebody else coming in and helping you take the photos? Cause some of them, like you got your hands in there. Like you're, you're really, you really getting it. So who, who or how are you taking these photos?

Hannah Chia: 31:57 That's all thanks to the tripod. It's a one man show here. I don't have any assistance unfortunately, which is really funny because when I go home to visit my family like once or twice a year, I have my sisters there and they're the best photo assistants and they do like hand modeling for me. But I on my home most of the time when I'm shooting, so having to tripod was really nice just to be able to have my hands in the photo or sometimes in my older photos I've had one hand in the photo but then you know, the other hand is like holding the camera in for care.

Raymond: 32:32 That's like a, that's like a movie trick right there. Like how do we get this thing to look and that's hilarious.

Hannah Chia: 32:37 Like creating your neck.

Raymond: 32:43 So how do you, how do you do that now? Like if you have to get your hands dirty, do you just assume that you're going to have to get your camera dirty as well? And then, I don't know, how many times do you have to stick your hands in, you know, some dough or whatever the that you're mixing up to to, to get the right photo?

Hannah Chia: 33:01 Yeah, so I do keep like a like paper towels and like a hand, like a washcloth nearby. So I can like wipe off my hands before touching the camera. But a lot of the times I just think about this particular recipe. And what would be the most useful. And so I feel like if I shot every single step of the recipe, that would just be too much. And a lot of the times like readers don't really need to know how to like cut a carrot, you know, but then showing the parts of that recipe, that would probably be the most helpful to have an extra visual of. Yeah, and a lot of the times, even some of the shots I just took my kitchen like on by the stove, which is not where the finished photos are taken. So the lighting is a little different there.

Hannah Chia: 33:49 But a lot of times instead of just taking photos of like every single step of like adding this to the pan and then you add this to the pan and then you have this two pan, I would just be like, okay, take the first one and then maybe take like one at the end. So just picking out just the crucial moments and it really depends on that particular recipe. Some recipes are really straight forward and I found that I don't really need to take that many process shots, but if it's something like dumplings are working with doe then I would have more photos of like working the dough actually with my hands. And so I'd carry the setup back to the window that I have or take the final photo. And so I like kind of do a lot of like carrying things back and forth. But yeah, so a lot of times it's just deciding what's important for that recipe and really just trying to get those shots I think.

Raymond: 34:41 And then is that something that you do before you start the recipe, you, you go through look and then decide what is it going to be most important to capture or do you have to make a recipe first and then while you're doing it, make those mental notes of what needs to be photographed?

Hannah Chia: 34:55 Yeah, so I w I test my recipes before I shoot them. So usually I haven't made the recipe once before in the, at least once before doing it again for the photos. And so I'll be making notes while I'm making it the first time to be like, okay, this part is a little bit confusing. And so even if I write like a really detailed instruction, it would help to have actual visual.

Raymond: 35:18 Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I bet. I bet. So how w w I guess I'm trying to figure out here you know, you're making, you're making all this food. Has there ever been something that you made that you thought this is going to be fantastic and then you go to, to set it all up again, do it, and for some reason it doesn't look great or it just doesn't photograph well. And if so, what do you do at that point?

Hannah Chia: 35:43 Oh, I have had so hot, I have a lot of folders of photos actually in my computer. The, I have just never used and I just decided to reshoot it like another day usually because that day I was just tired. Or still a lot of the times the problem with, or the beauty of natural lighting is that, I don't know, I just, I haven't really tried artificial lighting. I might in the future, it might be something I'll experiment with. But the thing with natural lighting is that a lot of times it changes depending on the day. The weather outside. I really liked cloudy weather, particularly because of the diffuse soft light you get. But sometimes it's sunny outside. And so if I'm planning to shoot something that day, but the lighting, it's not looking, is not working out, I'll just like postpone it to another day. So now I know too that I can just move that instead of being like, no, I'm going to shoot this today and like work with the lighting. And I've usually ended up with photos I would just was not as happy with. So I have had a lot of like discarded shoots, but I think just through that process kind of learning what I really, what really tastes like, have good photos and kind of streamlining the process just from trial and error and just from doing it over and over again.

Raymond: 37:06 Yeah. That's interesting. I'm trying to figure out how you can use those photos. Kind of a like to your advantage, you know, because you know, it's true. Wherever you go, it doesn't mean that it's necessarily going to be great line or that the quality of life does change. But I don't know. I'll have to think about that and get back to you. But yeah,

Hannah Chia: 37:26 And then with styling and yeah, I've actually shared two photos on my Instagram stories a while back. It was about, it was not for the same recipe. It was like this, I don't remember if it's like a tomato or a carrot soup, some kind of soup. But the first time I shot it I had used like these shallow wooden bowls. And so it was like one set up and had like a different like styling going on for that. And I shot it and I thought it was like pretty great. But then I looked at it like again, like a few days later I was like, you know what, I think I can do better. And so I actually use the same soup cause I just had my fridge just like reheated it. And I did a totally different setup. I use like a different background. I use different bowls. And I think that it just really worked a lot better for that particular recipe. But I had photos from both of them. And so I ended up posting that second one to my Instagram. But then my stories, I was like, here's actually the first photos that I took of this recipe. And so I kind of used it as like, oh, this is what would be helpful for people who are into photography. You just seeing the difference in styling and really like what a difference it could make.

Raymond: 38:34 Yeah, that's, that's a great idea. Yeah. I would've loved to have a, a scene that if I was, you know, following along, I think w w we get this idea that you know, everybody on Instagram is just perfect and we're the only people in the world with, you know, internal problems or whatever. But being able to see somebody else post either how a photo didn't work and what changed to, to make it work is, is, is a really great idea. But one thing that you said in there kind of brought up another question for me, which is when you're, I mean, you're making food, right? You're making food, food is meant to be you know, consumed and shared after you're done photographing a recipe. Well, I guess first of all, quick question, how long does it take? Let's say you're, you're making a tomato soup or carrot soup from, from start to finish. How long does the whole process take, would you say,

Hannah Chia: 39:28 Including the photos and the editing or just

Raymond: 39:31 No, just, just the, just the day of shooting.

Hannah Chia: 39:34 Okay. Yeah, so the cooking takes actually the shortest amount of time. I'm usually done in like 30 minutes to an hour. But then a lot of the time is spent cleaning up because after a shoe, my kitchen will be a mess. So a lot of the times when cleaning up washing dishes, I like to say the most probably what food bloggers are doing most of the time is washing dishes, which is not very glamorous, but it's kind of true. And then yeah, so making the food and then shooting it, the actual photography probably takes, depends on the recipe, but usually like an hour I'd say.

Raymond: 40:16 Oh Wow. Okay.

Hannah Chia: 40:17 Yeah. And then that would also include cleaning up though.

Raymond: 40:22 That is a whole lot shorter than what I was expecting. But I'm sure that over the years you have a kind of figured out how to cook and shoot and clean as you go. If a, if I were to do something like that, it would be like a four and a half hour it would take all day. And then at the end of that I would think, I don't even want the soup anymore. I'm just so stressed out.

Hannah Chia: 40:41 Oh, sometimes it does take longer though. It really does.

Raymond: 40:45 What's, what's like a really long strenuous recipe that that, that you've made?

Hannah Chia: 40:53 Probably like the past one that I posted on the soup dumplings because that also the cooking process itself, like I had to refrigerate something to let us set for a few hours and then for the dough itself had arise. And then I think one thing that really, so now sometimes I'll take the whole afternoon would be like spent on one recipe. And I think the reason for that is because I started doing or taking videos for my Instagram stories on the process. And so for every step I would be like, just like taking a little video. Anything that just like prolongs the cooking process, you don't realize it like a dish. I take like 20 minutes to makes on this takes an hour to seize. You're like documenting every single step. And then so for that particular recipe, also wanted several different shots. I didn't just want the finished product, I wanted one with like the little buttons are like the little dumplings like before I fried them. And so I like set that one up. So that one took a good like five, six hours.

Raymond: 41:55 Oh my goodness. Yeah. Okay. So when when you're doing these shoots, right, you say it's the end of the six hours and you're like, oh my gosh, I'm just toast right now. Right. Are, are like, is that, what is the first thing that you, do you dig into the food that you just made or do you wait until you look at the photos and determine whether or not you do want to reshoot it before you?

Hannah Chia: 42:20 Usually by that point I just eat the food. I'm always hungry. One time, one time it has happened where I was like in the middle of eating this plate of food I made, I was like scrolling through the pictures. I was like, oh wait, I can probably like reshoot this to make it look better. That was like, you know what? It doesn't matter. I shot those photos. That's what it is. I'm going to eat.

Raymond: 42:44 That's right. You got into this because you love food. Not because you love the photography. The photography facilitated the food. So I would've made the exact, the exact same decision. That is hilarious. Has that ever came back to bite you in the butt? Have you ever taken taking a bite and been like, oh no, wait, I didn't photograph this yet.

Hannah Chia: 43:00 Then I'll just take a picture of like the food or the bite in it.

Raymond: 43:04 That's even better. Of course. Yeah, makes it look way more appetizing. So I can't think of, I looked through a lot of your recipes and I can't think of any that have the the bite in it. But obviously you're looking over a lot of your photographs. You have this consistent look and whether it be from the lighting of this you know, single, large soft source or a, the way that you style your food. I think that there's no denying that you do have a style to you in your photographs. Is that something that you feel like you always had or is that something that you struggled to find and if so, how did you find it?

Hannah Chia: 43:43 I think I kind of developed it just over the PR. Like if you actually just on May Instagram, if you scroll down to the very bottom, I started out taking really just like, I felt like there were like more typical images on Instagram where it was like a very bright backgrounds, like white backgrounds. Because I was like, okay, this is like, what does well on Instagram, so I'm just going to do that. But then I realized I didn't really necessarily like the brighter images. So that's when I started thinking, okay, this is what I like. I like darker, like more rustic, more shadows. But then a lot of the times the images would look not very consistent. I don't think it was because like I was just playing around with editing during that period of time so we can kind of see like the progression of these photos. But then once I really established even when it came to the light room, I made my own preset. I would like apply to the photos and then like tweak them depending on the individual photo. I think that's when I started really getting more of a consistent look.

Raymond: 44:47 When you started applying all the same colors and tone cards

Hannah Chia: 44:52 [Inaudible] or just doing the same edits basically, like, this is what, like every photo I start off just like doing these few things to it. And so I think that's, and then I, I think I feel like my style is still kind of changing though and I feel like that for me, that's kind of a way I still want to improve. Like I'm definitely not happy with how I am now. I'm always like looking for new ways to make my photos even better. And like getting the tripod was part of it and now I'm thinking just like how could I constantly be improving and making my photos even better.

Raymond: 45:27 So when you say that you're not happy with your photos now, do you mean that you're not happy with your photos now or that, that you're still developing your style?

Hannah Chia: 45:36 The problem with the ladder, I introduced that I'm satisfied. I was like, okay, this looks good. But in the back of my head, there's always that like self-critic you know, being like, okay, what can they do to make it look even better? And sometimes you really can't, like that's just how it's gonna look, you know? But it's just thinking more experimenting with some, one thing I'm thinking of now is just doing even more wider shots and doing photos that are more just like, instead of just focusing on one dish, maybe have really several dishes in it. But then for that I would probably have to consider getting a lens that would like I guess, right. I'll use a 35 millimeter. I'm thinking if I get like a zoom lens or one that can like zoom out even further, that would, that'd be nice to have.

Raymond: 46:26 How much work do you think that's going to add onto your plate? No Pun intended.

Hannah Chia: 46:32 Oh, I don't know. I feel like it'd be fun.

Raymond: 46:35 Huh. I don't know man. I mean doing it all on your own. That's gotta be a ton of work for sure. So that's a, that's gonna be an interesting endeavor. And I'm excited to see how that works for you. But yeah, I think you know, just using or you know what as, as I think possibly w w I picked up this trick from like shooting weddings and stuff. You know, there's always the one reception shot of like the entire reception. Nobody in it you know, but all the, the glasses and silverware and the tables and the venue was like set up nice. And I always thought like, oh, this has to be like a super wide image. I'm going to put on the like the 24 millimeter and like just get the nice big shot. It's going to be very encompassing and, and, and very cool.

Raymond: 47:17 But what I found is when I did that it's very easy to lose focus in your photo, right? Because cause with something being so wide, you have to get really close to it to be, to the hero of the shot. And I found that actually using a tighter lens. So my favorite lens is the 35 Mil, but once I started using something tighter, like a 50 you can focus on on one singular element, but still, you know, just change the composition and get lower or or you know, change the angle of the shot to add a little bit more context to the photo and that that really helped. So one thing I would recommend is maybe renting a lens before you buy because prime lenses as you know, are not the cheapest things in the world. So that's great. Again, I'm excited to to, to, to see where that goes

Hannah Chia: 48:06 And even beyond photography, just like doing more with videos I think is something I'm thinking of in [inaudible]

Raymond: 48:11 With the DSLR more so than than Instagram. [inaudible]

Hannah Chia: 48:15 Yeah. Or maybe, I dunno, I'm working more with like youtube or just learning how to do videos and then that's going to be a whole nother learning curve. Like how to edit videos and I feel like that's just going to add a lot of work.

Raymond: 48:28 You're definitely gonna need some consistent lighting if you're gonna, if you're going to start doing videos, that is for sure. Yeah. I had another question about your your style and I completely lost it going off on my own self absorbed a, a story there about the, about the title Lens. If I remember, I'm sure that I'll come back to it. I bet you look at a lot. Oh No. Yeah, that's right. That was the question. When it comes to figuring out your style, you said that you know, it took awhile of adjusting a lot of photos and then figuring it out. I like the settings. I'm going to turn this into a preset. How long do you think that took from when you first started with light room until kind of if you can put a label on your style today, how long do you think that progression took?

Hannah Chia: 49:13 Took a few months, let's say like, like four or five months. Actually. Just have making little edits and yeah, I feel like also for light room, a lot of people will ask me specifically like sending questions. Like, how do you edit? And I have done one like stories series in the past where I kind of like show people exactly what I was doing, but I feel like now I'm, I have less of a tendency to want to do that because I feel like with editing you don't really just want to like copy what someone else is doing. And knowing how to like do the basic edits is important. But then anything just like tweaking that it really depends on like your own personal preferences and your own aesthetic. And a lot of the Times I've noticed that photos that do well on like social media or like brighter just because it's like the more easy to be shared if it looks like that.

Hannah Chia: 50:07 But then if you have like moody or photos, those look better on like, like a blog or a website. So I think it was just really focusing on like what you want your style to be like or just seeing like what you want your, whether you're doing like food blogging or whatever it is. I don't know what the listeners are thinking of doing, but just really honing in like what exactly you want two people to be drawn to in your photography. And just kind of like just working it out. I think a lot of the learning just comes from like figuring out. And really I think if I had tried to like copy what other people, like what photographers I admire were doing that would not turn out, would not look the same. And I think I wouldn't have like learned the same things that I did just trying to figure out on my own.

Raymond: 50:55 So just being self aware and asking yourself those questions, what is it that I want and what do I want to focus on? Yes. Yeah. I think a, just you sharing that little tidbit about maybe not wanting to share more about editing is a, is kind of, you know, told me everything that I need to know because it's like you, I mean as, as a blogger you could and even as a podcast host, you could share every little detail about not only the, the main subject, which is the food, but every little detail about it, how photos are shot, how photos are edited, how you style a plate and stuff. But at the end of the day, if that's not what gets you excited, but what you think that your audience is going to get excited about, you're going to lose the passion for that real quick. And I like how it sounds as if you've already picked up on that and you're like, you know what, I'm going to stay away from this. I'm going to focus more on this and potentially bring in videos. That's very cool. Very cool. So now back to that question that I got to before my request of this one. As somebody who got started food styling by looking at other of food stylists and food bloggers, I'm sure that you still see a lot of images of food in your Instagram feed. What are some signs of an amateur food stylist photographer that that you see that the listeners should totally avoid?

Hannah Chia: 52:18 I think a lot of clashing colors especially if there's just like, I feel like too much going on or, so the two that I see is like, either there's like not enough going on or it's just like very, very simple. Just like one bowl and that's it. Or too much going on where they're like, there's like a red napkin here and then like the food itself is orange and they have like a green thing here and a blue thing here. In terms of food styling, those were the two that I would like try to avoid. And a lot of the times also just lighting just seeing certain photos, like if they're underexposed or they're too dark or some that are like washed out or even some that I can tell are taken in a setting where there's like a lot of different sources of light. So now that I can like I kind of like know what it takes to like set up lighting. I can like kind of figure that hour pinpointed it just by like looking at a photo and being like, okay, I can see like what they did there or what didn't work or what worked.

Raymond: 53:21 Oh absolutely. Absolutely. It's, it's one of those things, once again, you have to on a kind of yourself and how you shoot to see how others shoot. And all of this just comes with practice. Obviously you can't, and I've said this before, you could watch every youtube video read every blog about photography and if you don't actually pick up that camera, you're not going to learn anything at the end of the day. And I love how, you know, you kind of started off by saying I've only been doing this for two years, but you put in two years where the practice, like this is what you do a lot of. And in those to, you know, quote unquote short years, I think that you've got a lot more practice behind the camera than a lot of other you know, photographers could maybe shoot families or especially weddings cause you don't get that opportunity to go out on your own and do these things like like you have. So that's, that's fantastic. That's fantastic.

Hannah Chia: 54:11 And one thing I wanted to add just I would just like to picking up the camera and doing it is I feel like people have this tendency, especially like I realized I wanted everything to be perfect before I started. Like I wanted to have like a really nice camera, a really Nice Lens, like do all the research, figure it all out. But I was just afraid of like my first, my photo is just like not looking good. I think getting over that fear and actually just starting is something that's really important, especially for anybody. But I think especially for photographers who sometimes like your photos will suck and a lot of the times it's like after you take those photos, like learning from that experience, because I think I just encouraged you who just if you want, if you're interested, even in starting something with photography or food photography, whatever it is, just like picking up the camera and like actually doing it instead of like being afraid that like, oh, it's not perfect. It's like I need to know all these things before I start. Just like kind of diving in and learning from the process.

Raymond: 55:09 So my last question is always what piece of advice would you have for a new photographer? Just getting started, but without me even asking you totally nailed that question and I can't imagine a better way to, to end our time together than that right there. Oh, so Hannah, before I let you go, can you please share with the listeners where they can find and keep up with you online?

Hannah Chia: 55:35 Yeah. So my blog slash website is Hanna chia.com and on Instagram, I'm Hannah two underscores Chia and she has not actually my last name. It's cheap, but it was kind of like a pun.

Raymond: 55:48 Oh, I love it. I love it.

Hannah Chia: 55:51 Yeah. So those are the two

Raymond: 55:53 Well basis I've always envied people who have that ability to like take their last name and just like change it into something slightly different. And then now it was like, you know, something totally different or whatever. And I've always, I've spent way more time than I probably should, figuring out how I could alter my last name into something different. My last name being Hatfield, so it's like hats, fields. These two things aren't, like, they're not related at all to photography. Chia obviously, you know, goes into food, but I just, I just Kinda gave, so I envy that. That's very awesome. That's very awesome. Well, and again, thank you so much for coming on the podcast, sharing everything that you did, especially getting started with a food styling and all of your experiences. I appreciate you sharing all of your information with the listener and I'm excited to keep up with you here in the future and hopefully start seeing some videos.

Hannah Chia: 56:42 Oh yeah. Stay tuned for that. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me.

Raymond: 56:47 I'll tell you what, I loved this interview, Hannah, if you are listening you are a gym. Seriously, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you are sharing your story and I know that it will inspire many for sure. I think my biggest takeaway from this interview was just simply how much daily practice had skyrocketed the quality of Hannah's photography. I mean, if you think about how often you eat and then imagine being able to practice photography that much, just if you were able to do that, the quality of your work would also take off. So what I want to do is encourage you this week to think about something that you do every day and then think about how you can incorporate photography. Intuit, remember Hannah didn't set out to be a great photographer. She wanted to cook and then that got her into photography.

Raymond: 57:38 So that she could photograph her dishes. Now you don't have to make this like a, a big production. Just try to be mindful of what makes sense, you know what do you see on your walk into work every day? Take a photo of your kids every day and take a photo of the sky every day. You don't need to start producing incredible work immediately. The point of this exercise would be just to always be looking for a shot rather than, you know, just walking into work because it's, it's the practice in the doing that will actually grow your skills so much more than listening to podcasts. So much more than simply watching youtube videos or reading blog posts. You have to actually do. So that is it for this week's episode. Remember to download your free light room presets by heading over to learn the beginner photography, podcast.com forward slash courses to sign up and get them today. So until next week, I want you to get out, keep shooting, focus on yourself and stay safe. That's it. I love you all.

Outro: 58:42 If you enjoy today's podcast, please leave us a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast player and continue the conversation with Raymond and other listeners of the podcast by joining the beginner photography podcast Facebook group today. Thank you. We'll see you again next week.

BPP 164: Dave Maze - Gear Talk from a Professional Gear Reviewer

Dave Maze is a professional camera gear reviewer for Kinotika and host of the Polar Pro Golden Hour Podcast. It is his job to tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly of the new cameras on the market so you can make better informed buying decisions! Because lets face it, camera gear is not cheap. Today Dave and I talk in depth about camera gear and how to make the right decision for you!

Click for a full list of photography terms

In This Episode You'll Learn:

  • How Dave learned camera exposure

  • The hardest part about photography for Dave to learn

  • Why Dave started reviewing gear

  • How Dave decides what to focus on with his gear review

  • Daves takes on full frame vs crop sensor camera

  • The difference between a $5000 camera vs a $500 camera and who needs what

  • What piece of gear Dave never uses

  • Common bad info Dave hears being taught to new photographers

  • Daves take on the best travel camera

  • How many megapixels Dave thinks is too much

  • Daves take on using two different camera manufacturers

  • The importance of ND filters and Polarizer filters

Resources:

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Full Episode Transcription:

Disclaimer: The transcript was transcribed electronically and may contain errors that do not reflect accurately what the speaker said. Because of this, please do not quote this automated transcript.

BPP 163: Nur Tucker - Underwater Wildlife Photography

Nur Tucker, an underwater wildlife and conservation photographer with decades of experience who’s work has to be seen to be believed! Today I am excited to to chat about some of the challenges that shooting underwater presents!

In This Episode You'll Learn:

  • How Nur got into photography

  • What drew Nur to underwarter photography

  • What came first, Nurs love of photography or diving

  • Some Safety concerns photographers need to worry about while underwater

  • How Nur plans to photograph sea life like sea lions, clown fish, and turtles.

  • How much preparation is involved to bring a camera underwater

  • Nurs most used piece of gear

  • The underwater camera housing Nur uses to photograph underwater

  • How to plan for your shot when you cant change lenses

  • How much creativity Nur has with all the constraints of being underwater

  • What you need to know to get started shooting underwater

Resources:

Lembeh2018-Day 9-167LASTRESIZED copy.jpg
NTUCKERCP1.jpg
Sea Horse Under Sea Beams 1-6CRESIZED for SONY .jpg
NUR1-126RESIZED.jpg

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Full Episode Transcription:

Disclaimer: The transcript was transcribed electronically and may contain errors that do not reflect accurately what the speaker said. Because of this, please do not quote this automated transcript.

Raymond: 00:00:00 This is the Beginner Photography podcast. And this week we are taking our cameras under the sea. So let's get into it.

Intro: 00:00:08 Welcome to the beginner photography podcast with Raymond Hatfield, the podcast dedicated to helping you grow your photography skills. Raymond interviews the world's top photographers in their field to ask questions that will get you taking better photos today. Now with you as always, husband, father, home brewer, La Dodger Fan and Indianapolis wedding photographer, Raymond Hatfield. Thanks

Raymond: 00:00:37 So much for joining me today on the beginner photography podcast. As always, I am your host and wedding photographer, Raymond Hatfield and I'm so excited to get into this interview. This interview is one that I haven't done before and I think that you are really going to enjoy it. But before we get into that, I want to talk a little bit about my week. It has been a crazy busy week because I've been trying to do a lot of things to plan out where the podcast is going to go. Right? What do I want the podcast to be? For a long time. I was trying to do everything from, you know, youtube videos, blog posts, obviously podcast. I had an Alexa skill you know business training within the Patreon, which the Patreon is still alive and well, but there's not the, the, the same videos that go into it every single week.

Raymond: 00:01:26 So, and I'm doing this all by myself and I got kind of burnt out. So I pulled back and then I just started focusing just on the podcast episodes itself. Oh yeah. I'm also doing interviews and editing and creating show notes for the podcast. So I pulled back and I started just focusing on the interviews themselves and I'm happy to where we are now. I like the format that we have and we're going to definitely move forward with that. But I'm still thinking about where I want to take the podcast. How can I help as many people as possible? Because I know that you're listening to this podcast because you have a problem. Your problem is that you want to be a better photographer and I want to be able to help facilitate you to get to where you are. So this week I have been putting up a lot of resources for you, the listeners and by creating a resource page on the website.

Raymond: 00:02:19 So this resource page has things like recommended gear, recommended software, and even some free trainings that you can download. Now this is going to be the place to go where you need suggestions or recommendations. So if you haven't already, feel free to check out the new resource page by heading over to beginner photography, podcast.com. And then just click the resources tab right up at the top. It's all that you got to do. There's going to be a bunch of stuff there, but you can you know, take advantage of and enjoy right now. Now as I said, I've been updating that. Now the next thing that is going to get updated on that resource page will be my mini course, which is called Picture Perfect Pricing. So if you have ever struggled or felt guilty for charging people money for your photography, for your work than fear no more, I am going to break it down, not only how to get over that mindset that is really holding you back from actually earning an income with your camera.

Raymond: 00:03:19 But I also show you exactly how to price your work with a custom made plug and play, easy to use spreadsheet with video tutorials on how to use it and know for certain that what you charge is, is, is going to be enough and it is going to be profitable for you. So you will be able to find out more about that by heading over Learn.BeginnerPhotographyPodcast.com So today's interview is a nice long interview. So I'm going to give it, get into it real quick. But before we do that, I want to give a shout out and this week's shout out is for Trent. Trent left a five star review on iTunes and I want to share it with you because I truly do appreciate every single one of you who are listening. This lets me know that you are listening and that you are a real person and that that you picked up something from the podcast that is helpful and I want to share that.

Raymond: 00:04:17 So Trent says, this is a fantastic podcast to get started and keep moving you forward. Raymond does an incredible job with the beginning of photography podcast. He pulls in professionals from all different areas of photography to discuss not only his, not only their career, but how they got started. All of this relates to the photographers wanting to grow and even start a business someday. Raymond himself, that's me, brings a wealth of experience as a wedding photographer. Check out his podcast if you are a photographer looking to get better. Trent, I appreciate you. That is a, a fantastic review. That, that, you know, I'm, I'm so glad that talking to photographers and learning where they started really helps you on your journey. I know that it helps me on my journey. You know, I don't know how everybody else had started, but I know how I got started.

Raymond: 00:05:10 So when I hear you know, how other photographers got started, that gives me insights into, you know, where can I be focusing more and learning to grow my photography in a way to get to, you know, wherever you want to be faster. So Trent, again, thank you so much for leaving a five star review on iTunes. Okay. So let's, like I said, this is going to be a nice long interview. You are going to hear my daughter interrupt us, I believe twice. So get ready for that. But we're going to go ahead and get on into this this interview right now with Nur and she is an underwater photographer and I think this interview is really going to open your eyes to what it takes to get the shot that you want. So let's get into it right now with Nur Tucker.

Raymond: 00:05:57 Today's guest is noreNur Tucker, an underwater photographer with decades of experience whose work truly has to be seen to be believed today. I am excited to chat about some of the challenges that shooting underwater presents. So north thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

Nur Tucker: 00:06:13 Oh, thank you very much for having me.

Raymond: 00:06:15 Of course. I kinda like we just spoke about right before I press record, I've never interviewed an underwater photographer. I've worked with an underwater or I guess a cinematographer who specialized in shooting underwater. But at the time I was also at work with him so I wasn't able to really chat kind of about the challenges that being underwater with a very expensive piece of gear and trying to capture something with with intention, kind of the challenges that that presents. So I'm really excited to have this time free together to be able to, to get into this topic. Cause a lot of beginners. Obviously you have questions, but first before we get into all that, can you tell me and the listeners how you got your start in photography in the first place?

Nur Tucker: 00:07:02 I think before photography I started doing on the rule to photography, which is a funny starting points a year, 1998, I was in Thailand on a holiday kosumi. And I didn't really intend to do scuba diving at all, but there was a scuba diving course, a diving school at the resort. And I'm always open minded. I said, look, I'm here for two weeks. Why don't I try this for a few days? And I enrolled it was a Pati course,utwo days of, you know, some classroom, whatever, reading the book at nighttime and,usome pool sessions for the basic skills. And then for open water dives, which was the best part. And I still remember the first time ever I put the mask on and the BCD and all that, and I died the first time over.

Nur Tucker: 00:07:51 I looked down and I saw this last blue and I was so lucky there was a school of fish going at the same time on my feet. I still remember it. It just gives you goosebumps. It's a, it was this infinite blue with the school of fish on there, my feet. And I didn't know how deep that was. It looked like pals and meters. It wasn't definitely, but I was serious semesterized at that point I said, I love this and I want to continue. So that was the diving bit. So I did my certificate there in Thailand and then another holiday. It was more these, this time they were doing an advanced [inaudible] advice for the, sorry, there is a phone calling. There was an advanced buddy certificate course, so I did that as well when I was doing the course. The instructor wrote of really Mickey Mouse Camera.

Nur Tucker: 00:08:43 So the course that we're doing, the advanced version of the paddy course didn't even want it to tell. Probably look underwater. You can even take photos or either it was that, it was such long time ago, I don't remember. Or he wanted to say, look, you didn't need good buoyancy to be able to take photos. But it was yellow. I think it was Mel Torme. Marianne, I think so. You can even find them on Ebay these days. So you t you put slides in it, so it's a film camera, it's like point and shoot really Mickey mouse. And there is one strobe on it just on and off. So it's that simple. So I took some photos with it and when I came on land and I saw there was fish, there was color, it was unfocused. And I'm like, oh my God, this works. I was expecting everything to be murky, whatever.

Nur Tucker: 00:09:30 So that 1998, I became interested in underwater photography. But obviously when I thought, oh my God, I take these photos, they're amazing. When I look at them now they're embarrassing bad. I understand that for sure. So that was the starting point I did. I liked it. I can add further things to it's basically underwater is such an amazing world. Firstly, I thought maybe I was efficient in my previous life. I don't know. I love all too, so much. That's my goal too. And safe place. You know, I really feel happy when I'm on underwater. The quiet, the tranquility, the pace of the animals or the fish swimming like sting rays or the turtles. It always brings me tranquility and I love that. And you don't think about in a politics and your politicians, economics, inflation, none of that just it's completely pure tranquility, which I like that.

Nur Tucker: 00:10:26 And the quiet of that. You also have to accept as you dive more and more, you witness more of the underwater world. And you see what a big biodiversity's that and the, the umbrella of the animals, the species you see on the Rother is Bret there for example, you can easily see minuscule things like microscopic things that you can only see big diopters, magnifying lenses such as like a smaller than a small ant, like a skeleton shrimp or a new daybreak. Or you see more than 10 meters, 10, 15 meters long. Like whales. Like the blue whale for example, is massive. So such diverse staff that you see a semester rising. I think it's nice to witness that. And if you think about the 70%, even 71% of the earth is water and the lifestyle in the water a billion years before blends. It's important we have to know it.

Nur Tucker: 00:11:26 Not everybody knows what's going on on the water. And I think as you dive take photos, you basically become an advocate for the water, for the animals. And obviously you can also talk about the dangers that are presented to not only the sea life, the animals, the fish, the Reeves with the pollution that the plastic, even the sun creams. I stop using some creams now because he can't really damage the reefs. Really. [inaudible] oh yeah. Yeah. I mean obviously all my dive buddies, they are big environmentalists. They are, you know, they like to preserve nature animals. We care immensely about the underwater world. The last time I was traveling, I was in Philippines, one of my diabetes and I just putting cream on my buddy and she, is that reef safe? I felt so bad. I'm like, AH, no. It's difficult to find it in England. No excuse. And now that I've been even use this because it can really damage anyways in a nutshell, there is so much basically that makes you fall in love. Yeah. [inaudible] Yeah.

Raymond: 00:12:32 That being underwater, just being so removed from your normal everyday world that you see above land is just has to be an incredible experience, a very transformative experience. So I kind of want to go back to that moment where you got that first camera, you got those slides back. You kind of mentioned that the diving was, was more of a, what was more of a holiday activity to you? At what point did you think like, I can actually pursue this instead of just, I'm just going to do this every so often when whenever we go on holiday.

Nur Tucker: 00:13:05 Yeah. So when I came back from that trip right away, it was more these, and I haven't used and Mickey Mouse Camera, all of a sudden I become an expert. So I went to, I can't remember the name of the company, but there was in London, in embankment, there is a company that sells a little on the Royalton year, not the cameras, but in my corner they have a camera set up as well. So I went there and I said, I will not buy it. And econ Aussie, it wasn't Nkomo Stan, it was a specific new designed underwater camera. So I bought that again, it's a worked with film. So e six and I bought one, you know, on and off stroke is, it's either on or off. And I started shooting. So I went to the Caribbean, I went to the Red Sea. I you use the tubes back then, just to frame the photo.

Nur Tucker: 00:13:52 It was completely primitive, but you know, some of the photos and I got better and better, but while I was there at that shop, I saw one ad, there is a workshop, Martin Age, I still remember the person is called Martin Age. He's an English photographer. Actually it was the first person ever I went to workshops with. We did. I contacted him and he was really lovely and he still loved me anyways, I still see him. He's one of the very important people for underwater photography world. He had like four books published I think. And I've read all of them. So I contacted him and I said, look, I want to do some workshops. So I took my camera, I went to him and we did some classroom sessions, about four hours. And then we went into the pool. We work with some silk flowers, like those fake flowers that you use at home.

Nur Tucker: 00:14:42 So we put some weights on them and we put them into the water. And basically he showed my, all the initial techniques, which I would like to talk today, actually do for the beginners later on. [inaudible] So basically what you see is not what you take because when you take the full soul of the silk flower, I could easily see the weight that we tied the, you know, silica Lauer to the stem and then all the mosaic, the ugly mosaic of the pool behind, and then read badly exposed silk flower. So this is what you see and, and then you taught me what to make out of it. So the next picture in, obviously after I learned all the tricks was negative space. You created the negative space. Meaning I know on the seed, the mosaic in the pool, I know on the sea that the weight ugly, you know, a weight that I just want to see a beautifully lit slip flower against the black background.

Nur Tucker: 00:15:38 Okay. How did we do that? So creating a negative space. So that was the first lesson basically I learned from him. So I did some the pool sessions and then I did some trips with them as well. So I ran to Red Sea, moldy, use a few different places with them. So I, every time you go on a workshop with similar minded people, they are not just diverse, they are not even dyed with their photographers, underwater photographers. That is so important. You can't just take photos while you're diving, you forget about diving, you dive. So the need to take photos. So if everybody's a photographer is excellent, but if you go on a diving trip with your camera, it doesn't work. And it never worked for me.

Raymond: 00:16:24 I see. I see. Okay. Yeah. So let's, let's unpack that a little bit. I want to know a little bit more about this workshop. When you went to a store and you bought that, that camera you said that it was a film camera made for underwater. Yes. Is that, is that what you brought to this workshop and if so, was it just a, it was just a point and shoot camera or were there manual controls?

Nur Tucker: 00:16:45 Actually, I'm trying to remember. I might have even had the wrong recollection with Martin Edge. I had another camera, which was a Nikkon again and on the log, very old type film camera. But it was that which I brought. But in between I went to another ladies, Linda Dunk. She was offering workshops. I went there with my Nikkonos actually it was so brand new, the whole packaging. I had to open it in front of her. I didn't know how to put it together. And she said, oh my God, what kind of people are on my trip? Yeah. She said that apparently famously. And then I proved her wrong a few days later. I had some really lovely photos with her teachings and she was happy with what I did.

Raymond: 00:17:27 So I guess, I guess the question that I am trying to get at here is, sorry, were you, did you already have an understanding of manual photography at this point or was everything just point and shoot and how did you learn? Where did, where did your education for photography come from?

Nur Tucker: 00:17:44 Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that's a good question. Origin really when I started doing photography was point and shoot. And then gradually it started to evolve. It was again with Martin Edge. I learned all the basics about ISO, the shutter speeds, the operative priority and all that. We see it. It was it's a long experience. It takes time. You learn all these, but putting it in action and executing its, you know, properly and efficiently when the time time comes and quickly it takes time. No, obviously I learned everything. So every time, you know, I eliminate a photo. It is, it is good. Perfect. You know, in terms of the lighting, in terms of the exposure, but it took a long time. It's really took a long time.

Raymond: 00:18:29 So did you, did you practice all of your photography underwater or did you spend much time here on land? To, to, to,

Nur Tucker: 00:18:37 No, it was, it was on the Walter, it was if you ask about the other stuff, which is for another thing later equine is very, very recent. Only in the last few years basically it was all on the water. I did everything on the water. The problem was originally I was working, I used to be a banker, so I used to be on trading floors and working long hours. I had two kids and obviously you tried to learn everything during one week of holiday that you have booked in a year and then you go and you start learning not only the camera but also the housing, the strobes, the whole thing. How this work, I don't even remember. You start from scratch. Oh, you learned a lot during the week and then when you come back you throw the camera too on the side, kids work, et cetera. The, you know, the pressures of the life gets in and basically until the next year you forget everything again.

Nur Tucker: 00:19:30 You start from scratch I guess. So it was a very, very slow learning curve for me. My photography really improved when I retired five years ago because not only I could spend time on the photography, but I could die more. Like I could do four or five trips a year. Sure. And then, and obviously don't forget initially it was analog, but with the tech knowledge, the digital, my learning curve became exponential because the feedback is imminence, you know? Otherwise you had 36 frames, take it. You don't even remember what settings you used when you took them and you come back from the trip. You had them developed. Oh, tough luck. Just like it was the wrong set of things then. And you don't even remember what settings now with the digital is imminent. You just take a photo, have a look at it, and I'll know this is not good. It's, Oh, I have to increase the shutter speed, I have to reduce this ISO. Definitely I have to reduce it. Or you know, my strobes, I have to turn them down and it's just, even if you can do fine and now also it's not expensive. You can take hundreds shots of the same little new dib rank and then one of them will be great.

Raymond: 00:20:33 Yeah. Yeah. You don't have to be limited to just the 36.

Nur Tucker: 00:20:37 Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. That's what it says.

Raymond: 00:20:41 So before we get too deep into the photography side into it, I kind of want to get a bit more context of diving in because you're underwater. Like this is a potentially life and death scenario that you can find yourself in. So can you give me a quick safety lesson on, on diving?

Nur Tucker: 00:21:04 Okay. A photographer's oxygen to safe die was probably, no, that's the joke. But underwater photography is really difficult. Sometimes I say after all these years, this is particularly difficult because you're not just the photographer. There are some branches of the photography which are not forgiving. And you really have to be a wizard in what you're doing in terms of technicalities, in terms of your exposure, control, et cetera. But on the rotor you have to be an excellent diver first. It is imperative. I can't really stress this enough. You have to be a very, very accomplished diver, but it doesn't mean that you have so many certificates in paddy. You really have to have the man hours on the rotor and the experience because the stability of yourself on the rotor is paramount to taking a stable shot because you act like the tripod of your housing and camera and they are heavy equipment.

Nur Tucker: 00:22:07 Yes, the water lifts a little bit, but at the end of the day, I will show you something that you just become. HRA is this big. This is only the camera. This is only to camera and it has the, it doesn't have the trims on it. Like the strobes, the stroll bombs and the tripod, whatever. So it's quite a heavy. Sometimes you need just one hand to use the whole thing because maybe you use just one finger to stabilize yourself against the current. So on the router obviously your depth gauge is very important. Your nitrogen levels in your body is very important. How deep you are. Are you diving with air or Nitrox? Depending on that, what kind of nitrox level or oxygen level you have in your tax depend depended on that. Your maximum, that varies. You have to know that and you can easily be sidetracked with taking a photo.

Nur Tucker: 00:23:02 Sometimes it happens to me like, oh, it needs a little bit more light under the chin. Oh, the light should come from up. Oh, maybe I should, you know, take the strobe arm a little bit to the side. Or I have a model, for example, I want a model. I want the person model who, who's beaming a torch at me in between too. Big Gorgonian [inaudible] I tell him, go up a bit, go down a bit, go left a little bit while I'm doing that, it happened once, I found myself at 37 meters and I wasn't supposed to go lower that 33 for that particular dive, which was dangerous. So obviously you have to keep an eye on your death gauge, on your oxygen levels. Like what kind of, how, how much air do have left. You may finish at 32 meters. Nothing is coming anymore and there's nobody around.

Nur Tucker: 00:23:53 This is quite dangerous. So I think you have to be looking after yourself because most photographers will be looking after themselves. We say, buddy systems are important, but as soon as we dive, normally we lose the by the, in the first one minute or so. So please look after your deck, gauge your computer, you know, your air and check these all the time. Basically on dorms. They and don't do a Decaux. We normally do. No Decaux dives a underwater. So you do maybe three minutes at five meters on the way back we do normally the 60 minute dives. We try not to do longer than that, but these are the, obviously this is for ourselves, but it is very important not to touch anything and respect the underwater photographer as well. They are taking photos. They can become, not on purpose, but disrespectful to the environment.

Nur Tucker: 00:24:49 This involves touching the reefs, breaking the reefs. You know, if you hold the reef, that part that you hold, it dies imminently or your fence are you? Yeah, exactly. The minute you touch something, it dies. And sometimes sorts of Reeves, it takes a hundred years to form. It is a shame. So you should be respectful. Don't do the thing kicks, don't kneel. Even if it's a mock diving, for example, that you do. Which just, just sand or volcanic sand in Indonesia, we go to Soloway Z, it's just black sand. But even then, we try not to touch the water. There could be something hidden on the sand or, you know, we can also danger ourselves. We can talk. There are so many tiny creatures that your eyes don't see damaging. So, exactly. We shouldn't touch anything.

Raymond: 00:25:40 Yes, yes, I got ya. Very recently there was, I believe it was just the other day there was an article posted that there's a lavender field in France who I guess because of social media became famous, people would come and take pictures in this beautiful lavender field. And then everybody knew where this place was droves and droves. The photographers were coming to take photos in this field and it has now ruined this, this farmer's business because of people trampling over just the lavender. And it's, it's a very unfortunate situation now. Lavender is not something that takes hundreds and hundreds of years to you know, regrown. So I would just imagine that, that, that feeling of protecting the environment that you're in has just got to be so much more powerful. For sure. Yeah.

Nur Tucker: 00:26:26 That's quite the similar situation. Of course. Whether it is any rape scene, like some beautiful reefs or even wrecks, you know, rigs can be damaged. Like there are all these beautiful wrecks in the Red Sea. Like this'll go on, for example, that was sunken during the World War and it's amazing. It was carrying artillery to the war and it still has all the Sh the four wheel drives, the big trucks, the motorbikes, et Cetera. Inside. It's, it's beautiful. It's beautiful. I died many times. I can't dive enough. I want to go again. But I'm, we see each year thousands of tourists are visiting that if everybody touches one little thing, it's just going to damage the whole Dereck.

Raymond: 00:27:07 Yes. You have a picture in a, in an, I saw one of the photos on your website that it looked like a, a motorcycle attached to a ship underwater with a nice blue

Nur Tucker: 00:27:18 Oh, that must be okay. [inaudible] Yes, yes, yes, exactly. That is [inaudible]. Yes, there was a diver in the back. Yeah.

Raymond: 00:27:26 So, and so that kind of brings me to my next question for, for something like a, a wreck. You, you know what it is that you're getting into. You know that you want to go down there and you have an idea of what it is that you want to see to capture that photo. But a lot of your photos are of, of the sea life. So before you go down, do you have an idea of the specific animals that you want to go out and shoot where you dive or do you just go diving and then hope for the best?

Nur Tucker: 00:27:57 Oh, I see. You're saying for the, if it's a wreck, you know what you're shooting, but if it's just the wreck, if it's just a, you know, you just dive. What I can say is the following obviously this is nature. You don't know what you're going to get. It's like, I don't know if you've ever done a safari in Africa. Nope. I've done, oh, I done maybe like 10, 10, 15 times. So lots of different places in Africa. It's never the same. You may take the same route every single time is different. One day you see a leopard, the next day you see a stork, the other there is another bird or some artwork, whatever. So knowing that this is nature, nothing is guaranteed. But what we do is we don't just take a camera and just go dive somewhere. We have a clan workshops are normally advertised for the category.

Nur Tucker: 00:28:48 For example, they say it's macro workshop or super macro workshop or it's a wide angle workshop or it's a rec photography workshop, or it could be sharks. For example, once I've done great hammerhead sharks intervening Bahamas, the sole purpose of the trip is just the pack picture. The great hammerheads in Bimini, they come there only for two weeks during the year. And there are feeders, shark leaders, they basically bake them, just they put the, they put the charm and the whatever blood and all that, and we wait on the boat. Sometimes it takes seminars for the fin store arrive exactly, sometimes five minutes. So for that one, you know, you want a great hammerhead, which means you need a wide angle lens and the Strawbs accordingly. So you need longer arms. And everything is according to the, the whole setup. But if you go to Sulawesi Land Bay, for example, in Indonesia, you know that you're going to do macro photography.

Nur Tucker: 00:29:50 So don't even bring your wide angle lens or a dome with you because you're not gonna see anything bigger than probably this or that size. Or sometimes they can go so small. As I said, they're microscopic. You need some big magnifying lances and you do super macro because you read it. Try to blow up a tiny tiny shrimp, maybe a or a new Dib, rank, whatever. So you know, you have a plan on your mind, what kind of creatures you want to take. But it is always the luck. Of course. It's always the luck that basically you just have one land. Even then even then, sorry for example, let's assume you do macro photography, but still there are so many different lenses. For example, I have a one oh 5 million lands and I ha I have a 60 minute lens. Obviously one oh five is tighter.

Nur Tucker: 00:30:42 So one oh five I would use to take Billy Small minuscule stuff together. We did diopter that I use and diopter I can put it outside the port so I can screw it later on like a plus five plus 10 sub C diopter. Just to magnify it further from the One oh five mill lens, this is your mom taking a little shrimp or maybe tiny pygmies mushrooms like a 30 millimeter, something like this. Okay. So I do, so I put a one on five mill lens and all of a sudden that is like, you have a really big blurring octopus, which is very difficult to see and it is not the right lens and it happens. It always happens. You need the underlies, but once in a while of course. So in a situation like that and you're just, you're just out of luck, is that it?

Nur Tucker: 00:31:29 Yeah, of course. Yeah. I don't mind you. You improvise. Okay. You know what? I'm gonna focus on the eyes off the octopus rather than the whole thing. Or why don't I just check the pattern, not the beautiful pattern on the skin. So you can improvise, but it will not be the photo that you would normally shoot situation. But there is always a plan. So these are the basic plans. But the other plans is we always have an idea of what kind of image I want underwater. Okay. Sometimes I say, you know what, I want to do a panic shot this time. So I want to put my a shutter speed really low, like a quarter of a second, but that really high aperture number, like an f 22 or bigger. And obviously my strobes shouldn't be very, very strong. So I want to just plan a sea horse just as if the sea horse is on the run or just to show, show some moments, some artists together elements. So then you just do your adjustments accordingly. Are you going to do a panic short or are you going to do a backlighting? Maybe I want to just do the silhouette of the seahorse. Then I don't want my strobes. I just want to do backlighting. Then you can just put the torch behind the seahorse. Then it is important that you take a torch with you. Yeah, yeah. No, I would have just got it. You can always plan. Exactly.

Raymond: 00:32:47 So in a situation like that where you wanted to backlight a sea horse, you said bring a torch with you. Is this something where you can do both things yourself, where you can hold the torch and backlight the seahorse with the camera?

Nur Tucker: 00:33:00 I'll have a hand. Yes. Yeah. I assistant, I can do it myself. Ideally and some great photographers or some famous photographers they afford to have or they are lucky to have an assistant lighting assistant or a model for a wide angle shots. I don't have that luxury. What we do is in terms of the macro photography for example, I tried to do everything myself. Believe me. Sometimes I go down, I just think like I knew the shopping bag there. There are so many tools I need like a tripod or maybe some elastic pass to attach the torch to the tripod or some other things. Maybe how many different torches I have. Some, some of them is a narrow beam. Some of them is a wide angle theme. Some of them is for the, you know, the port, the muddle, the tripod and sometimes we use snoot just to eliminate a tiny thing.

Nur Tucker: 00:33:55 So when you put the whole strobe on the animal, if it's tiny then it will eliminate everything. But I want just the animal in the darkness against the black background. So you use a snoot just to eliminate like, like this pen, just this is the light beam coming onto the minuscule animal. Yes. That is really helpful. If somebody holds it for you, that is ready to help because it's so difficult because the minute you move it that rose as well. Animal is moving. Sometime the animal is actually on top of the, I'm sorry the phone. This is the animal. This sometime is on top of a moving thing. For example, a sea urchin which is moving on top of it. There is the little shrimp for example and I'm trying to like the shrimp shrimp is moving, the CEO's Shin is moving on the needs that and that is the currents and the roles that as well.

Nur Tucker: 00:34:46 And then when I moved the camera, every time I'm moving, the light is all over the place. Sometimes it's just a nightmare. So it wouldn't be very helpful if somebody helps you put the light and what we do sometimes once in a while, depending on how friendly your dive buddy is, you can help each other saying, look, I can help you and can you help me? Can we take turns? She made this atlas with the back lighting as well. I don't want to put it you, sometimes you put the torch on the floor and then it rolls because orbit is not really a straight, you put the torch. Perfect. You like eliminating the CFRs on the back dominion. You're trying to take the photo, it rolls. This is not good. And you do it again back and forth, back and forth. Exactly.

Raymond: 00:35:25 So a few questions there. One of them is how often do you use a tripod, tripod underwater and what what sort of a situation would you, would that come in handy?

Nur Tucker: 00:35:40 Tripod? it worries you don't have to have a tripod. If you can do it sometimes it's very helpful. Let me tell you why you use a tripod. For example, if you want to do something artistic, let's assume I'm in a wreck and there is a diver in a very bright suit, yellow or red and I wanna take you know, Real Kurtz and photo off the diver which means I'm taking, it has to be on a very low shot to speed less issue, right? And I want the diver to have the movement effect in this shot. So I see the diverse face but by the time the shot is taken, if the diver is swimming, the back is a bit blurred as if there is moments effect. Right. In order to get that right, I think tripod would be great because you're on such a low shutter speed, there's going to be movement or you will shake the camera.

Nur Tucker: 00:36:42 That will be helpful. But you can always try to rest it on something. If it's available, you can find another little rock or a, I don't know, some other formation around. You can use that. You can always put it on the sea bed. You can do that. Or if the shutter speed is not that low, you can assume that the lifting power off the Voltar will be okay. This is for wide angle for macro. I try to basically perfect the back lighting. Sometimes look, if it's a seahorse, I can always rest the torch on the seabed. But let's assume I put the torch on the seabed, but the crab or the sea of Orzo, the little shrimp that I'm trying to eliminate this here, sometimes I can't find the angle just to eliminate the back. So it is really a good targeted little, one of those really cheap tripods.

Nur Tucker: 00:37:35 It's like this big on Amazon. Yeah. You just take it with you and I can even just clip it on basically. And I quickly attached the torch on top of the tripod. So you, you use that to keep the torches? Sometimes the backlighting I do that. Or sometimes for example, you may have seen it on my website. Sometimes you take these little gobies yellow gobies and a beer bottle. Oh yeah. Beer bottles or bottles and they make them their home. That little tiny yellow gobies. They're normally a pair in a bottle. So if you want to give a special effect, like sometimes I have on up the red light just towards the bottle inside. So as inside the bottle is, eliminates a dread towards outside [inaudible] I noticed again, just a, you can either put it on the side or use a tripod, little mini tripod. That's quite cute. I like that. Yeah.

Raymond: 00:38:28 So, so the use of the tripod is mostly for achieving a creative effect.

Nur Tucker: 00:38:35 Yeah. Yeah, exactly. It's not, it's not essential. It's not essential, especially for beginners. Photography is really nice actually.

Raymond: 00:38:41 Sure. So I know that when I, when I go to shoot a wedding which is primarily what I do, weddings, engagements, it's very easy for me because you know, I know where I'm going, I know what is gonna happen. And like we were talking about earlier, there's very little chance that I'm going to be in a life or death situation. So can you talk to me about kind of the planning that is involved in going to, to that goes into your work because you mentioned there just a moment ago, sometimes you just want to bring a whole bag full of gear.

Nur Tucker: 00:39:17 Hmm. Yeah.

Raymond: 00:39:18 In the case or do you go down there with a, with a, with a photo already in your head that you're going to try to get and then limit the amount of gear?

Nur Tucker: 00:39:28 Oh, of course. You always try to limit the amount of gear. That's for sure. Once I do the amount of gear, mostly in my experience necessary was a four macro or super macro diving because you know, you need that little tripod. Not everybody has to have it. Just that me personally, I liked that little tripod which goes on the clip somewhere and now you have your torches, a few different torches. And then you have there about decides like my fists, some external diopters, magnifying diopters depending on what new scenes. Yeah, I normally put them in my pockets. I have a lot of pockets on my wet, so, and I have some external pockets so that one a diopter here, another diopter, depending on the size of the animal they're about this size that can go outside. So I can, you know screw down on top of the port the torch or several torches and some lighter fate, like some Gel colors in front of the torches.

Nur Tucker: 00:40:31 If I want to make a red light effect or a blue light effect or sometimes you need a condenser for the torch. So it becomes a narrow beam light rather than eliminating everything. And the bigger part of these is the snoot, which is about this big, basically it's this kind of thing. I have a retro snoot is quite bulky and it clips on something, but I got used to having all these things. Sometimes we joke with our friends, they say we like the Christmas trees, things that are hanging from every part, torches and snoots and external throat tripods, whatever. So what you can do if you are not gonna use the snood, maybe don't take the snoot. We knew sometimes you say, you know what, on this side, I don't want the snoot, I'm just going to do maybe panning or I'm going to do backlighting and or some dives. You just take the snoot and you just want to do snooty and just so that you can use it basically.

Raymond: 00:41:23 [Inaudible] So how much would you say before you actually dive you are preparing for the shot?

Nur Tucker: 00:41:32 So of all before you all go on the trip [inaudible] trip that sometimes it takes me six to eight months to get ready because there's so many. Oh yeah, yeah. Actually I had been a mishap. I got ready for this trip indirect. See, and I had a problem with my health and I couldn't even go. And it took me almost a year to get ready for that trip because you have something on your mind that motorbike pitcher and you, so for example, I didn't think it was perfect. So I'm going to go there again to perfect that I sold the mistakes there. I'm not gonna tell you what they are. So I want to do start that. It's not even a mistake, but how can I improve this? I want a bigger angle in the light beam in the front and I want an additional on there.

Nur Tucker: 00:42:14 One for example, I only had one external strobe there. Now I need another one. So I had to order another one. So I need some external flashlights that can come from right from left, things like that or the tripod or you have to have your housing convoluted so each can accept the tripod underneath. And this has to go back and forth. Like for example, my housing should, we can come to that later on is an Austrian make it has to go to Austria to ice. And it's a heavy thing. It's like a four hour, just pillows. Just the housing. Okay. Can you please put the hole underneath so you can, I can put a tripod to it. Can you please put the vacuum on it or the decks. So, or I want the bigger dome port. Can you convert it or you just need some external, just engineers.

Nur Tucker: 00:42:56 Can you just create this for me? Can you just make this for me and the, there's a lot of thinking going on and I also spend all the time in DIY shops, like a bathroom stores and things like that. Yeah. I'm going to sum it up. Yeah. There are little things like you can just get an Armenian bathroom type, cut it and just basically put it in front of the Dome Port just to create a certain effect. It's a constant, or like this, some dishwashing scholars and things like that. Just the no background effects. I'm constantly expanding.

Raymond: 00:43:26 I love it. That's the way that you learn and grow. That's so awesome. That's awesome. Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. So when it comes to the gear, obviously, let's just go ahead and get on into that now because this is an entirely new world of yeah. Specifically for me, you know, because it's, it's not just full frame versus crop or, you know, having a fast or slow lens or you know, this is entirely different now while they make some incredibly weather sealed DSLRs these days, they're certainly not waterproof, especially down to a depth of 30 plus meters. So, yeah. Can you talk to me about the housing and how much control you have of the camera itself while you're underwater? Okay. Okay.

Nur Tucker: 00:44:08 Alright. I will show you again. I don't like this angle is enough. I don't want to drop my Dome Port, so I don't know if this is a good angle. So this is basically, it's a very large just sun. Yeah. It's large as this is only one part of it. What also makes it bulky and large and heavy is there strobes and destroy barns? Like I even have these, these are the strobes.

Raymond: 00:44:32 Oh Wow. Even those are good size. So that strobes, we're talking about something that's about the size of like a, like a small toaster oven that you're bringing, bringing under water with. Yeah. This is not very slowly, just the arms, obviously that goes onto those.

Nur Tucker: 00:44:46 So the whole thing becomes quite bulky and awkward to carry on land. No, what I can say is the following for a beginner, obviously I can't talk about iPhone photography or GoPro, GoPro. I hear a lot of people have them. Actually you can even attach it on top of your housing for some small weed entertaining videos. And I can't talk about those. But what I can see is for a beginner, it is really not essential to have the top of the range camera and don't do it because first of all, you have to deserve the best camera. That's, I always say, but it's just read, not the camera, it's a the person behind the camera and the right technique, but it's also the lens and the strobes, the strobe arms and the porch. So if you have a compact camera, just start with, you can win competitions with that.

Nur Tucker: 00:45:35 There are a lot of amazing photographers that use a compact camera and win competitions. And these days competitions always have a Compaq subcategory. Oh really? So yeah, that is always a compact category. And sometimes it's really a noises because really great photographers that we know, they cheat and they go into the Compact category, right? Like, come on, you can't just do this. This is really not good anyways. But contact cameras for a starting point are great. Like Sony makes them, I can't tell you which models Sonya has them and I, Canon has them. What else?

Raymond: 00:46:17 I think we're pretty much probably the most popular I would think is the GoPro. [inaudible]

Nur Tucker: 00:46:21 Yeah. GoPros are good. Yeah, exactly. I mean you can do that. What is important as, as much as the camera is that the lens, so for a beginner it is imperative that you have two lenses. One, you need a macro lens, probably a six mil kind of Lens. And it is important that you have a, you know, wide angle like a fish islands and we love Takina for example, 10 to 17. So those are the goal. Two lenses for a beginner. And obviously depending on the lens you use, you need the appropriate port for a macro, you need a flat port for the, the port that you have seen on the screen now is a wide angle law enforcement

Raymond: 00:47:04 That was listening. The porch is the, is the glass or the plastic in front of the Lens. Yeah,

Nur Tucker: 00:47:09 Exactly. Okay. Yeah, exactly. So basically there is the thing and then you just, every time I will take it out and show it to you. Oh, so it's basic. This is the part you see that is the parts. So this is the wide angle one, which is a medium size a port. Basically they can come in bigger sizes, they can come and smaller sizes. And we can talk about the pros and cons later on.

Raymond: 00:47:36 Lens Hood. You can imagine if you're just listening right now, it's like the biggest lens hood that you could possibly put on a camera covered in a is it glass or as a plastic.

Nur Tucker: 00:47:46 This line is glass, but it can be accurately as well. And it doesn't affect the optics. It really doesn't. What is important is the shape of it. Yes. so that was the wide angle one. And if you have a macro lens, like a 60 Mil Lens, then you need a, just the cylindrical thing that goes in, right with the flats port basically as a flap. What? That's what you call. So you start with these two. If you starting get a compact camera, get a macro and a wide angle lens and then the appropriate porch. But it is important obviously when you invest in the camera ask whether there is a housing forage or not. Not every model like for example Sony or as I said, the other brands, they don't necessarily have the housing for it. So it's always important to go and ask which ones have housings and it shouldn't have the touch screen because you should be able to, you know, control it from outside.

Raymond: 00:48:39 Yeah, exactly. So how do you take control of the camera from, from outside? Are there buttons on the housing? Correct.

Nur Tucker: 00:48:45 Yeah. Yeah, there is a everything to be honest. Whatever you do with the camera you can do underwater with the housing. Like this is the back of the housing for example.

Raymond: 00:48:55 Oh yeah. Tons of buttons, tons of buttons.

Nur Tucker: 00:48:58 But this is basically every single item here on the top, on the side, these, they're all corresponding to something on the camera and you can, you have hundred percent control of your camera on the water and it's very easy. Most, you know, your camera is, it's really no problem. And you know, you learn your housing as well. Yeah.

Raymond: 00:49:20 So how about the dexterity between like actually being underwater? I mean are, are, are you using gloves and the control is very intuitive to press those buttons. It's not too tough.

Nur Tucker: 00:49:31 Gloves. Most of the cases you're not allowed gloves because this is the sea culture. They don't want you to use gloves because if you use gloves, you're less careful, less respectful, you touch things, you touch things. So gloves normally are not permitted apart from like shark diving, like when I did a B Muni for example, Oh yeah. Gloves aren't necessarily because tan color, this color is food, so you have to cover yourself with black. So everything is like top to toe black. So we normally don't use gloves obviously apart from Coldwell to diving as well. When you're doing cold water diving, which I normally don't like if you're diving in Norway or wherever, somewhere called [inaudible] class, you need the dry suit, you need gloves. And I heard that the Dexter is the goes down because you freeze. And, and also with the thick glove with the using two bottles become a little bit cumbersome. I heard that, which I don't have much experience on. I like more what?

Raymond: 00:50:28 Yeah, no, I don't blame you. I don't blame you. I remember growing up growing up in California, we would go to the beach often and everybody thinks that like California beaches, like they gotta be the best. Like you gotta go, you know, the California summer or whatever, you dip your toes in that water and it just, you want to get out immediately cause it's so cold. It's cold. Right? It's horrible. It's horrible. It's horrible. I want to talk now a little bit kind of about the m market for underwater photographers to sell prints. This is an area that I know nothing about. Is this something that I guess how big is this? How big is the market for it, for underwater photographers?

Nur Tucker: 00:51:11 I don't know is the answer and probably I'm not even the right person to answer because I usually normally don't sell my underwater image. Online. I would only sell them and actually I'm planning to do some exhibitions next year, but something more artistic rather than just some fish, etc. Which is a little bit premature. I normally don't sell my underwater images. I enter competitions. I'm there mostly competitions. It is a highly competitive market. I don't think it is easy to make money out of underwater images. There are so many good guys. Like for example, I mentioned Martin Age and I haven't mentioned Alex Mustard, but he has been instrumental in improving my photography in the last five, six years. I've done a lot of his workshops on lighting techniques, which is the most important thing on the roadshow. So for example, to us, he's our gods.

Nur Tucker: 00:52:10 He is an amazing photographer. He's an amazing on the rotor photographer. He's a marine biologist. He's very knowledgeable than his photos are. Like, it's, it's just we are hoping that always one day the, exactly. We are trying to be him one day. He's amazing and I am sure he's selling to magazines and some documentaries. I don't know what it is, the books programs and he does sell but I don't think he is making millions out of it either. But it is very competitive unless you are as good as him. And he takes mom photo to perfection with the amazing amount of pixels in it. Nothing is spice for example. Then you take the photo of the pig. Missy horse eat lives in some I think Oregonians or some coral reefs which have the perfect replica of his skin is basically, it's an amazing camouflage.

Nur Tucker: 00:53:04 So it's basically polyps, but they are like little cut flowers and then the seahorse looks like them. So it's difficult to pinpoint them and you find them, they're cutaneous about 20, 30 millimeters, whatever. But when you're taking the full time, you are so close to it as well. In supermicro, you are really close, almost touching distance but not touching. You should not touch the polyps because then they all just go inside and it just kills the photo. Nobody will buy that then. So it is difficult to achieve certain things and perfection and the magazines can be very hard basically. So I'm, I'm not the right person I guess to sell, but I'm sure there are other people. Yeah.

Raymond: 00:53:42 Well you gave me a lot of great names there.

Nur Tucker: 00:53:45 Yeah. Yeah, I definitely, Alex [inaudible] is amazing. Martin Age is really great and there are a lot of good photographers.

Raymond: 00:53:52 Beautiful. Beautiful. So let's talk a little bit more about kind of the I guess creative constraints that you may have. You, you talked about, you know, being down there seeing something and thinking, oh, I've got the wrong lens, you know, what am I supposed to do in this situation? And then trying to figure that out. But what are some other things that that are just a byproduct of being underwater that, that constrain your, your, your creativity or your creative vision?

Nur Tucker: 00:54:24 Ah, that's a good question. That is a very good question. This can always happen. The problem is I don't know whether it happened to me or not because I'm thinking this is how I was thinking at the time. I don't know if it wasn't on there, that kind of depth or pressure or nitrogen level would I have thought a bit better. You will never know that. But it is a, it is a known fact that when you're under pressure every single time it's in certain that let's assume 30 meters, 35 meters, your body's reaction is different.

Raymond: 00:54:56 So we're talking about physical pressure here. Not Mental pressure, physical pressure.

Nur Tucker: 00:55:00 No, no. I'm seeing it affects the, the physical pressure affects the mental pressure. Gotcha. That's, that's what I'm saying. So basically when you are, when you are at the 30 meters or 40 meters, that everybody's reaction and every single time is different by the way is different. And I think a, the pressure would be the accumulated nitrogen in your body because of the pressure affects your mental capacity and your thinking speed and you can effect, it may not effect, as I said, every single time is different because of that. For example, when I did a deep dive course one day, they made me do some mental maths at 43 meters. They just bring a slate with you and they just give you some calculations, just how quickly can you do it. So they compare it about land on land and at 43 meters. At that occasion, it didn't affect me with some simple math. It didn't affect me, but it can have effect. Stress I think is important. If you are really stressed and I get stressed a lot, sometimes I take it so seriously. I'm like, I should, I have to create something. I have to create something. There must be some creativity. Already 14 minutes past the dye was finishing and I haven't done anything. Sometimes I stress myself and it makes it worse. You should just be relaxed and fine. Okay. Know. But I take adversaries like this.

Raymond: 00:56:25 Okay, so then, so then how do you, how do you judge, what do you need to capture to call it a good day then?

Nur Tucker: 00:56:37 First of all, you really want to maximize the probability by staying until the end of your lab dive time normally is to 60 minutes. A lot of people be notice 7 to 8 minutes. You can increase. Obviously if you're agreed beforehand with your buddies, you don't want to make them wait on the boat wet and cold, et cetera. Of course. Let's assume 60 minutes, you're allowed time. You wouldn't get up at 30 minutes minutes because why, why do you do that? Because it's just the probability and you never know. You may not see anything for 50 minutes on the 60th minutes. Sometimes just the most amazing thing appears. It always happens sometimes just before you're about the surface, that five meters you see the most amazing creature. So you want to maximize the time to increase the probability of success or seeing something interesting, which I do, which I do, and just click away, tried to use other things.

Nur Tucker: 00:57:28 If one thing doesn't work, sometimes it happens. You know, like sometimes I think my mind stopped you just for example, there was a seahorse. I know what to do with it. Ah, okay. Left writing, writing, writing. You know, you just say, okay, I want to do backlighting. The strobes at three o'clock, you know, nine o'clock, three o'clock, nine o'clock, strobes and this, you know how it works and you use this app, stop that shutter speed. It's not working. It's all washed up. You tried this, you tried that change ISO. Nothing is working. Sometimes you go lock Ross wrong. Nothing I do is working and maybe this looks like something, you know, something is not working. What am I doing it just, just take a minute, just okay. Chill out. Just come back to it again or just say, you know what, for some reason this is not working, let's try something else. Why don't I do panning instead, for example? Or it can happen or you do abstract. Nothing is working. Okay. I'm sorry. I'm going to find some sea squirts and just do some backlighting and just do some abstract on those. You can always do something.

Raymond: 00:58:30 Of course. I don't know if if you can hear her right there.

Nur Tucker: 00:58:34 Oh, lovely. Oh No, no worries. Lovely. Hello.

Raymond: 00:58:45 I apologize for that.

Nur Tucker: 00:58:46 No worries. No worries. No worries.

Raymond: 00:58:48 We we went camping a few weeks ago and

Nur Tucker: 00:58:53 They did very well, to be honest. They didnt bother you for a long time. I think they did really well.

Raymond: 00:58:57 I bribed them with going outside and playing in the pool after, after we're done with the phone call.

Nur Tucker: 00:59:03 Ah, that's nice. That's nice. Okay.

Raymond: 00:59:06 Okay, I got just, just a few last questions here for ya. Now we talked a little bit about kind of using a compact camera. You know, you don't need that top of the line gear to get started. So No. If somebody is just into underwater photography and they do go out and buy that compact camera or if they have a GoPro, do you have any little tips for them to get the most out of a just to get the best photos that they can?

Nur Tucker: 00:59:34 Yes, of course. I think I will go back to my clothes ever lessons myself about what was important to learn in underwater photography. I am assuming these people already have the basic knowledge about which I didn't have when I started the ISO shutter speed aperture priority. I'm actually not hearing you. Can you hear me?

Raymond: 00:59:57 I can hear you. Yeah,

Nur Tucker: 00:59:58 You hear me? Okay, fine. So I'm assuming they already know about the basics of pressure prior to shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, et Cetera, having had that and if they have the right lenses, do you remember what I said? They need the 60 mil and a wide angle and they need proper strobes. If they have the strobes, proper strobes, manually operated strobes they can actually do really well. In terms of the tips, the first thing to look at, which I learned and I think it is instrumental is creating and negative space, which means when you point in shoot to a fish and you will see there is the fish behind, there is some rock, some reef, some whatever, that maybe there is another fish that is a big cacophony in the background. That could be a good textbook picture for identifying the species, but it will never be an artistic picture.

Nur Tucker: 01:01:00 Creating negative spaces separate that subject from the background somehow. It could be sometimes the subject against subject, you know, it could be like a little fish on a beautiful and nominee, so it's just their nominee in the back. Or it could be just just the back black background or completely blue background, like the blue of the sea or something else. But just to create that negative space, they can look at a lot of magazine photos, maybe just to see some underwater dive magazines, diver magazines, just to see how that is achieved. That's important. The second important, this we always say reduce the column of water. That basically means don't take it from a distance. Always go very, very near the subject. Get close, get close. Even now, after all these years, I didn't like in like common s's. I put clothes, get clothes, get clothes.

Nur Tucker: 01:02:01 I mean like sometimes even, I forget. You have to get as close as possible. And we always say many underwater pictures like taken from many of those or majority of the underwater photos are taken from very similar clothes, distances almost touching like as if I'm touching this screen. Some of them are touching some of them. Even the rec photos may be your only two meters. Maybe you're one or two meters in front of the rack. You can just see the whole direct because it's a wide angle lens. So reduce the column of water because Walter is not like air and not every water is as clear as obviously every sea. So when you reduce the column of water, you increase the clarity of the picture, reduced the backs, catheter, the hanging things in the object, in the water. So that is important. Always get close.

Nur Tucker: 01:02:51 What else do we have? Oh you always look up because many beginner photographers they will shoot like this. Basically like that's because, yeah, because you are swimming or floating and the fishes on underneath, you just shoot like that. That will never ever make a good picture. We always learned to look up or just go at the eye level of the subject. For example, if it's a little blending that you have to get to the eye level and then make sure and have an eye contact, try to have an eye contact. If the blend is looking that way it will not make a good shot basically. Or if you can only see one eye again, that's not very good. We tried to see both eyes and we tried to have eye contact, whether it's a sea horse, whether it is a blenny or a goby. And you know, if it's looking like this, this is not gonna look very good basically. So I think those are the ideas I contact. Look up, not down, reduce the column of water. And the, what was the other one? Get close to the subject.

Raymond: 01:03:54 Did you close? Of course. Of course. Those are great tips. Those are great tips. I'm I've the opportunity to to go on a cruise this fall with my family down down to Mexico. And I think I'm going to give diving a shot. I've never done it before. I think that I'm willing to try it and I think that after hearing these tips from you I'm going to be better prepared to at least attempt to to photograph something under there. So I appreciate you sharing those for sure.

Nur Tucker: 01:04:23 Oh, no problem. Can I add one thing? I think this is important. I sold my old housing to somebody and he came back asking some questions, Jimmy saying, look at why my thought was on not, you know, like this why [inaudible] blown up by our, they'll say cyani not like the blues that you shoot and he said he's doing TTL mode. It is really important not to Tate, not to use the TTL mode off the camera. It should be on the men. It should be on the manual node. So no, no cause then no, no TTL mode because that ridicules it because you want to be in whole control of the camera. You don't want to give the decision making of hot power of the strobes are going to be to your camera. GTL means through the Lens is basically the camera, the size, depending on the light coming from the subject through the Lens. And it just says, okay, this is how strong I'm going to make strobes. And it made me sound a stand. It doesn't have the idea of what you're gonna achieve or what is the plan that you want to see. So you want to be in control please. No TTL. That is my recommendation.

Raymond: 01:05:30 I love that. That's great. And that actually what you just said there brings up one last question that I have for you before I let you go. I know that we've been talking far longer than, than I said that this would take. But whenever I look for like I have, I have multiple GoPros and whenever I like I look online for GoPro accessories, one of the big things is dive like a little dive housing for the GoPro. And it seems like the Dome is always like, like a dark red color. And I never understood why that was. And yet I look at your dome and it's, it's very clear. Do you have any insights as to, as to why that is

Nur Tucker: 01:06:08 Your, your don't want is dark red color?

Raymond: 01:06:10 No. So like whenever I look on mine so if you just search, I'm sure like GoPro dyes filters, they're always

Nur Tucker: 01:06:18 Okay. Red Interest. Ah, okay. Okay. I understand. I kind of understand. I am not sure but this could be the reason I made look into it and even get back to you later on. Are you taking readout flash

Raymond: 01:06:36 More than like yes. Yes. Correct.

Nur Tucker: 01:06:38 Huh? That is I think the reason, so what's happening is you're actually, we don't know, are you using a red filter? That's my understanding. We sometimes use magic filters is basic. There are a red filters. What happens is when you do not use flash, I mean actually if I want to use a flash, flash falls off very quickly, like two, three meters and then it pulls off very quickly. If you want to eliminate a wreck which goes on 35, 40 meters or even 50 meters, flash is mark on the work. Maybe just the front and then it's not going to work. So what for that kind of photography, we use magic filters called red filters. So you basically behind your Lens, you just put the red filter is called the magic filter. It basically I think helps the light to reach out to you more so it for longer. My understanding is light travels longer when you do that. I see. That's very, I understand. Yes. So it's allowing you to take photos, otherwise you could not have taken without strobes or at certain depths. For example, with a GoPro a, if you're going to go to 20 meters that we don't, that redness probably it will struggle to find a light.

Raymond: 01:07:55 I'm pretty sure it can only go down to 10 but that's still a great, a great tip for sure.

Nur Tucker: 01:08:01 Yeah. I don't know how many because I don't use GoPro. That could be an explanation, but I will look into it for you. I think that's the x, but look up magic filters and how they work. Yeah. Magic red filters underwater. How they work.

Raymond: 01:08:14 Well, that's been something that

Nur Tucker: 01:08:15 Has interested me. And for some reason I never ever once even considered to find out until I'm right here with you right now. So yeah. How many meters you use the 10 meters?

Raymond: 01:08:27 The GoPro? Yeah. I believe it's only waterproof down to 10 meters. And then of course they have extra housings that I think I think at most totally taking a shot in the dark here. But I think it goes down to 25, 30 Max. I think anything more than that, it just doesn't, it doesn't operate. You know, it's really made for just like, you know,

Nur Tucker: 01:08:44 I think that's the reason I would think of because that's the only time I've ever used the red filter. Probably that's what's going on. I hope that's the case. Well, I don't want my credibility.

Raymond: 01:08:57 Well, yeah, no, no, no, no, no. Nor I, I really want to thank you for, for coming on sharing your extreme wealth of knowledge when it comes to taking underwater photography. I truly do appreciate you sharing as much as you did for the listeners who want to know more about you, can you share where they can find and connect with you online?

Nur Tucker: 01:09:20 Oh Great. Thank you so much. First of all, tax for the opportunity. I really enjoyed this because the host is very friendly and I think they liked your questions. You ask very, very good questions. I'm really happy. Clearly you're very knowledgeable about photography yourselves. You can understand what the audience may be interested in. And it's important to basically pass on the knowledge of underwater to everybody because it's such a lost place. And a, it would be nice to protect the oceans as well with this knowledge. Now in terms of if anybody wants to follow up, I would be flaccid. I have a website it's called www north taco.com and you are t u c k e r.com. That's my website and you can get in touch with me through my website and you will see my underwater images. My equine images, which we didn't talk here today. You will see some exhibitions, some blog, et cetera. Otherwise I'm on Instagram. It's a, it's at North Tucker photography on Instagram. So these are the two places that you can get in touch with me. Anytime you have any questions, I'm happy to follow up.

Raymond: 01:10:30 Awesome. Again, I will I will link to those in the show notes for sure. So if anybody's listening, if they could just swipe up and click a link and connect with you right away. But again, I have to thank you again so much for coming in.

Nur Tucker: 01:10:42 No, thank you. I really enjoyed this. Thank you. I enjoyed this.

Raymond: 01:10:46 First thing I gotta say is, nor if you are listening to this interview back and you're listening right now. I just have to say thank you so much for sharing all of the information that you did. It was truly eye opening. You know, I don't think that a lot of people truly understand what goes into underwater photography. And you know, I myself was a bit arrogant going into this and not an arrogant, arrogant, I just didn't, what was all involved in that was definitely my biggest takeaway was, was how much you need to prepare beforehand before going out. Because this is definitely a genre of photography that requires very much thinking in, in planning beforehand. Because, because what you don't, you don't have another option, you know, a few, a few months ago in the Facebook group, it was either Michael or Jason who posted a, a video of an astronaut who was going out on a spacewalk and he forgot to put in the memory card in his camera, you know, and you can just go back inside the ship real quick and put it in and then go right back out.

Raymond: 01:11:55 You know, this is something that requires a lot of planning and when Nord taught me today was that planning ahead is what will bring you success, you know? And, and honestly, I think that's something that we can all bring into our respective styles of photography. So that is it for this week. I want to thank you again for listening to the beginner photography podcast. I want to invite you to come back and join me next week. So until then, I want you to get out. I want you to keep shooting, want you to stay safe. I want you to focus on yourself and that's it. I love you all. Bye.

Outro: 01:12:34 If you enjoy today's podcast, please leave us a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast player and continue the conversation with Raymond and other listeners of the podcast by joining the beginner photography podcast Facebook group today. Thank you. We'll see you again next week.

BPP 162: How To Make More Time For Your Photography

Photography can be a rewarding and fulfilling hobby. But it can be difficult to find time to shoot when you have a full plate with a family and full time job. Today I share 7 steps that will help you regain lost time so you can get out and spend more time shooting and practicing photography!

Full Episode Transcription:

Disclaimer: The transcript was transcribed electronically and may contain errors that do not reflect accurately what the speaker said. Because of this, please do not quote this automated transcript.

Raymond: 00:00 This week's episode of the beginner photography podcast. I show you how to make more time so that you can get out, practice and shoot more. So let's get into it.

Intro: 00:11 Welcome to the beginner photography podcast with Raymond Hatfield, the podcast dedicated to helping you grow your photography skills. Raymond interviews the world's top photographers in their field to ask questions that will get you taking better photos today. Now, with you as always, husband, father, Ho brewer, La Dodger Fan, an Indianapolis wedding photographer, Raymond Hatfield. Welcome

Raymond: 00:41 back to this week's episode of the beginner photography podcast. As always, I am Raymond, your host and wedding photographer here in Indianapolis. Uh, and I'm also a father. As you heard all of these things in the, uh, in the intro, it has been a, uh, kind of a crazy week for the Hatfield household. Uh, several things, uh, you know, just like it, it's mostly just like a lot of annoyances that have, that have, uh, you know, been happening, which have made it hard sometimes to focus and, uh, and, you know, get done what I wanted to get done. So this week, uh, my daughter was, uh, she's three. She was playing in my office here. And, uh, I ha I use a canon 70 d for a video stuff because it has fantastic, uh, auto focus for four video. Uh, so she was here in my office and she was playing with the camera behind me and dropped it.

Raymond: 01:36 And, uh, the microphone port now no longer works, which is fine as a, uh, you know, as a, as a photography camera, if you're just taking pictures with the camera, that works just fine. It looks fantastic. But since I use it for video, I need that microphone port and now it is dead to me. So that was an annoyance. So I had to, uh, get ready to sell it as well as buy a new camera. So I had to and to, you know, splurge, which I really wasn't looking forward to or anticipating, uh, on a, a new Fuji [inaudible] t now shoot Fuji if you've been listening for a while, you know that I shoot Fuji and that the x t three is a one step up. It's, it's their newest camera. So I, uh, I went ahead and picked that up. Uh, and I got to take it to an engagement session this last weekend in Michigan.

Raymond: 02:29 Uh, and it worked. It worked well. You know, it's funny though, uh, every time you go to get a new camera, you get excited for the possibilities, right? Everything that you'll now be able to do that you weren't able to do before and you feel like it just going to completely transform your shooting experience. But in reality, and it really doesn't, everybody talks about the, uh, the, the performance on [inaudible] compared to the expo two, which is what I have and how much faster it is. And was it faster? I Dunno, maybe, maybe I'm just not in situations where I need like lightening fast, autofocus, you know, I'm usually just taking portraits of people who are standing still in front of my camera. So auto focus, while important, definitely on a wedding day and I, I see its importance. Maybe I just didn't really get a, a real feel for, for, uh, how it works, uh, in this new camera to the best of its abilities.

Raymond: 03:30 So, uh, but it was good. I mean, the engagement session turned out fine and it was beautiful. It was a sunset and, uh, engagement session on a, uh, on a pier on the west side of Michigan. So we got the, the sun going over or going down over the water, which was, which was absolutely beautiful. So there was that. Um, uh, our oldest, uh, son brought home lice from school. So, you know, I contemplated just, uh, shaving off my head or shaving off all my hair off my head because I don't want to deal with that. Um, my wife, uh, starts a new job she wants, she just started a new job this week. Um, and on top of that, I've been really excited to, to, to get out some, uh, I've had some new ideas for content. Uh, some, some, I think some really awesome content for you all as listeners.

Raymond: 04:23 Uh, and I'm going to get into that in a little bit, uh, but I'm really excited to, to share. But I found that the very recently I've been, uh, falling just completely head over heels in love for a film. Like never before, honestly. Uh, so I've been shooting film for for several years. I mean, not like religiously, right. I don't shoot, you know, a roll a week or anything like that, but I definitely, I definitely, I'd probably shoot like five rolls of film a year. So not a ton, but definitely enough to understand how from works. Um, but in the past a few months, there's just been something that was just, you know, ignited within me and now it's all that I can think about. It's all that I want to do. So I've got a new film camera, I bought a new medium format film camera, I bought 30 rolls of film.

Raymond: 05:19 Uh, now I need the, you know, the equipment to actually develop my film. But I've actually challenged myself, uh, cause all the supplies to develop your own film are probably, it's the initial cost that's always, you know, the most expensive, but it's probably gonna cost about $250, uh, to get started. Uh, but I've, uh, I've challenged myself that I will not buy the, um, uh, the all the equipment needed to develop film unless I can earn that, uh, unless I can earn the money, uh, extra through my photography business. So with me being able to think about film nonstop, I actually haven't had much time to shoot any film recently. So it just one of those things. But, uh, you know, as I was going through it, all of this with the, with the cameras and, and, and the lice and, you know, my wife's starting a new job and trying to book some more sessions for the business.

Raymond: 06:23 Uh, I've been thinking a lot about that struggle of time and we always are wishing that we, that we had more time. But you know, when you think about it, it just, it just simply, it just simply not possible. And when you think about it even more, we have the exact same amount of time in the same hours in a day as, you know, Jeff Bezos or Beyonce, you know, and these people can, can achieve amazing things in their life. So I've been trying to kind of figure out how to better control time and maximize time, uh, the time that we do have to make it work better for us. And I get, you know, uh, the struggles of, of feeling like you can't practice of, of having a lot on your plate. I mean, honestly, if, if you gotta be there for your family and you're busy at work, I get it. I am, I'm, I'm right there with you. And these feelings can lead to feelings of, of guilt that, you know, you have this nice camera but you don't know how to use it or, or lead to feelings of resentment towards other photographers whose photos you love because you're not there yet. But right now I want you to ask yourself just one question and that is, is photography important to you?

Raymond: 08:00 if I think that if something is truly important to you, then there has to be, uh, some level of sacrifice to getting where you want to be. Um, but this episode isn't just about, you know, cutting everything out of your life just so that you can take some pretty photos. There's going to be some real actionable information here that you will be able to use and hopefully regained some time. But the first thing that we need to fundamentally understand is that, uh, well, you know, the way that we're going about it right now is just wishing that we had a spare, you know, four hours, like a block of four hours to just go out and practice everything that you want to practice. And that is just, that's what is just simply near impossible, especially with a full time job and a family, you know, and these other responsibilities that you have.

Raymond: 09:02 But so this is the core fundamental thing that we need to realize is that we, we simply do waste time and we have time gaps throughout the day. These time gaps are, you know, your lunch break, waiting for an appointment, a while, dinner's cooking, uh, in, in the train or on the train or in an Uber, right? We might have five, 10 minute gaps throughout the day. And these may seem like small, you know, you sit down and like, oh, you know, can you wait for 10 minutes? Okay, yeah. So then you just sit down and your weight. And then what ends up happening is that we just, you know, scroll through Facebook or whatever. Um, so these 10 minute blocks, it just cause they feel small, but over the course of a year, they total up to more than 48 hours. So there's a lot of room there.

Raymond: 09:54 And these are the things that I'm trying to, uh, really expand upon. Uh, using these short chunks of time to, uh, better utilize, uh, uh, better, um, learn and better utilize my time essentially than that. You know, but I want you to know this one thing about photography. So I'm sure that, you know, you're feeling like, oh, you know, what is Raymond going to cut out? Now we've got to be diligent. This is going to be a lot of work. But I want you to know this one thing about photography and, uh, photography is very, very, very much like, you know, riding a bike. Once you gain a certain level of proficiency, it becomes almost effortless to maintain that knowledge. You know, once you learn how to ride a bike and you know, hold yourself up, then, you know, 10 years from now you can, you can do it again because you understand the mechanics.

Raymond: 10:49 Maybe you can't go, you know, get in the Tour de France, but, uh, you can't, you have a level of competency that lets you go out and leisurely ride a bike. And it's the same thing with photography. It's that initial time that you put in that is gonna going to, uh, uh, take up the majority of, of, of the, of the free time that you do have. So while you may listen to this and think, I can't do all of these things, like I said earlier, if something is important to you, there really has to be at least some level of sacrifice. And the thing with photography is it'll be temporary because you just need to get to that level of competency before you can, um, uh, before you can maintain your knowledge. So do these things until you feel comfortable behind the camera. Like you know, you have to grasp it.

Raymond: 11:53 Okay. And you may be asking yourself, how will you know if you have grasped it? How will you know if you are comfortable behind the camera? And the honest answer is you just will. And I can only, you know, equate this to like driving a car. And at first you're nervous because you're behind the wheel of this, you know, 4,000 pound speeding death trap. But you know, you find yourself a year later where a driver in front of you slams on the brakes a bit too hard and you have to swerve and get out of the way. But then you realize after the fact that you actually checked your mirrors before swerving and then you just know that you got it at that point. At some point you have that level of competency and you've now practice it enough to where, um, you got it. But there isn't a definitive moment, you know, you will find yourself in situations that you previously thought that were difficult.

Raymond: 12:48 But now you can clearly think your way through it. Now it may take two months for someone else and I could take two years for you. And it is impossible to give you that timeline simply because of outside factors that will determine how hard you are able to pursue photography. Now, photography, um, is broken up into several different segments, right? There's, there's hobbyists, there's amateurs, and there are professionals. Now Hobbyists and people who want to remain hobbyists can be more relaxed with their time. They, they are doing this out purely for leisure. And therefore, you know, you may still be excited about something and you may want to really learn it, but you don't have to be as diligent with your time as somebody who say wants to start a business one day and actually make money with their camera. So, uh, before we, you know, get too deep into this kind of philosophical stuff, uh, let's just go ahead and get on into the, uh, more step by step process.

Raymond: 13:58 Um, so I've kind of broken it down into, uh, seven different steps to regain more time throughout your life. So step number one is just to simply get set up for this. And by get set up, I mean, um, don't, uh, get lost in Youtube. That is the first place where a lot of people go, uh, to learn photography because generally photographers are very visual learners and, uh, so youtube is just, uh, it just makes sense and when you go, you can easily, easily, easily get lost. Um, and I have found a, as of you know, later than it should've been, but, uh, as of you know, the past few months instead of for me, instead of going to youtube and instead investing in some sort of course or program that tackles a very specific need that I have, I, uh, am able to learn that thing much quicker and much more efficiently.

Raymond: 15:00 I don't feel as lost, right? So I would recommend getting the creative live, uh, or just signing up for creative live because cause creative live is just a fantastic place to start because for one they have a huge range of um, different tutorials, different courses that can help you from everything from like, you know, Photoshop one-on-one to, you know, how to create a business and thrive. And what's better is that they have an app and then app on your phone can be used to replace, you know, whatever other social media you're using. And now you can fill those time gaps with some education. Now if generally these courses do, do cost money, um, but within the app you can actually watch one lesson free every single day. So again, if you're focusing on one thing, say, uh, you know, if, if you're focusing on, you know, this is more of an advanced topic, but like composites, like composite photography and Photoshop.

Raymond: 16:08 Now every time you have a time gap, you know, at least once a day you can go through and watch a lesson absolutely for free. So that is going to be a much better use of your time. Then, um, you know, just mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and I do this, I do this all the time. Um, so I, I still definitely have this problem and I need to get better on, on working on these things as well. But one of my favorite apps as of recently, um, to learn is actually been through the, uh, Google app. So Google has, uh, has a dedicated app. And I remember when it first launched, I thought, well, what's the point? It's just gonna be a search bar that makes no sense. Um, why not just use, you know, safari or chrome or whatever is built into your phone.

Raymond: 16:54 Um, but I downloaded the Google app and found very quickly that it's so much more than that. You almost have like your own feed of, of, of news and blog articles based on the things that you're searching for. So if you are searching for photography tutorials, if you are searching for how back button focus works, if you're searching for a, you know, uh, how different apertures affect your photo, Google's going to understand that you are interested in photography and that you're trying to learn more about photography and will then there start showing you more articles related to photography. And I can tell you that I've learned a lot of things that I didn't know about, um, photography through just kind of stumbling upon these reads. So it's a fantastic source just to be able to more passively, uh, find information because these short blogs or articles perfectly fit in these, you know, five, 10 minutes time gaps.

Raymond: 17:54 So there is, there's number one, okay. Number two. Number two is to stop doing something else. So stop doing something else right? At the end of the day, if you feel like, oh, I just didn't have enough time today, I wish that I could've gotten more done, then your time is filled with, you know, with things. And that is where, uh, you know, you can, you can obviously the desire to have more time comes from, but if we actually take an objective look at the amount of time that we have spent throughout the day, some of it, uh, I would say the majority of the time that can be regained is simply through, you know, binge-watching and mindlessly scrolling. These are definitely the two biggest ones. And I don't mean to say this, you know, to be, um, accusatory because I'm super guilty of this. I am, and I've just realized that like these are the two areas of my life to where if I, if I just, you know, if I just cut out TV, I could probably save, you know, two hours a day, one hour for big brother and then you know, another hour for, for dodger games.

Raymond: 19:03 Cause just cause they start so late. Otherwise, if dodger game started earlier in the day, then I'd be watching TV for four hours a day, that's for sure. But I gotta get some sleep at some point. So, um, I want to give you a fun little exercise. My wife doesn't think it was a fun exercise, but I think it's a fun exercise. If you have an iPhone, you can go into your settings and you can search for your screen time. So screen time tells you how long your screen has been on, uh, uh, during the day. And it'll also give you a breakdown of what apps are most used. And I'm willing to bet that you are on your phone for more than three hours a day. Now. Sure. You know, a phone can be a productive tool, right? I get that. Um, with phone calls, important emails, but surely not every moment. It's been diligently, um, you know, making progress on something. And I'm going to share with you my, uh, my screen time right now. So, uh, well my screen time is a little skewed because I had to use gps in my car when I was going up to Michigan and that was a three and a half hour drive. So, um, it says that my, uh, daily screen time on average is two hours and 50 minutes per day.

Raymond: 20:26 So it says that in the past seven days, I've spent four and a half hours on Facebook. Uh, obviously three and a half hours using, um, uh, maps. I was a, I spent two hours in the, uh, in the, uh, audible app, uh, two hours using my Google app, an hour and a half, uh, using, uh, you know, text 55 minutes on Youtube and then 40 minutes listening to a podcast. Uh, it would be a lot more, uh, on that podcast app. But, uh, I found a really good, I started listening to Pat Flynn's, um, newest book and that in audible on the way up to Michigan. So anyway, as you can see right there, I spent four and a half hours on Facebook just in the last seven days alone, right there. Even if I cut that in half, that's an extra, you know, more than two hours throughout the week.

Raymond: 21:20 So I think just being aware of where your time is going, uh, has really helped me kind of, um, being more, um, be, you know, just, just be more and be more aware when I'm actually like on Facebook. So, uh, if you are like me, you know, maybe on your lunch break, instead of us just scrolling through Facebook using that time to, you know, either listen to other podcasts about photography, a watch, you know, you're free lesson on creative live or, or read those photography blogs in the, in the Google app. Those are, those are things that have a have helped me. But once you, you have to stop doing something to be able to replace that time with something else that you do want to do. All right. Number three is don't overwhelm yourself. Pick one thing and then stick to it. When you're brand new to photography, you have one goal and that is to learn photography.

Raymond: 22:26 But learn photography is not a goal. It's just too broad and you can't learn everything about photography. Learn photography. It might be a lifetime goal cause it can never be achievable. But um, learn photography is not a good short term goal for beginners. Something like learn how to use a aperture or learn how to, you know, get out of focus backgrounds. That is a goal. That is a goal. So pick one and stick with it. So this typically leads, and this is what I love about photography, is that once you learn one thing, it typically leads to other things and the next obsession as well. So, uh, sticking to one thing is really going to help you stay focused and not, you know, what good is, you know, saving two hours a week by not being on Facebook and then just feeling like you've wasted it because you haven't learned anything extra cause you're just trying to learn everything.

Raymond: 23:25 Once you stop overwhelming yourself, narrow down to just one thing and then focus on it, you're gonna feel a lot better about learning photography. So remember how I mentioned that new content that I have, uh, in the, in the, in the beginning and the intro there. Well, uh, I want to share that with you now. If you are brand new, I have a brand new free ebook that you can actually download called picture perfect camera settings. So picture perfect camera settings is a, again, a free ebook that walks you through just how to get started with your camera settings in any situation. Uh, so from photographing your kids to shooting a wedding, uh, I actually share photos in the ebook and the settings that I used, uh, and, and, and share recommended starting points with those examples, uh, so that you can get set up and then make adjustments as needed.

Raymond: 24:19 And the Ebook is, again, it's completely free and if you're interested in it, you can download it just by heading over to beginner photography, podcast.com and then heading over to the resource tab at the top of the page. So here we are at number four and number four is, um, is just simply preplan preplanned, meaning that, uh, you have now gone through and you have audited your time and you have found spaces where you can either where you have either utilized those time gaps or you've cut down in other areas to be able to, um, have more time for you to use on photography, right? So you're learning as much as you can and you focused on one thing. You didn't overwhelm yourself. You are focusing on how to get out of focus backgrounds, right? But now the time has come to actually go out, you know, and shoot, and this is where pre plan comes in.

Raymond: 25:20 Cause after learning you should really make yourself an action plan of what it is that you need to do to really feel like you understand. Uh, and, and, and did you grasp that concept? Right? And you can, you can read every blog post, watch every youtube video, but if you actually, if you don't actually get out and spend time behind the camera, not really gonna be that, um, successful, it's not really going to help as much as it would, um, by, I got off topic there by, by simply just going out and doing that thing. So figuring out what it is that you need in order to, uh, be proficient in that, in whatever it is that you're trying to learn. So, you know, ask yourself, do you need a morning sunrise? Do you need someone just to be in front of your camera? Do you need a fast moving object?

Raymond: 26:19 You know, these are the things that you should figure out now so that when you do take the time to actually go out and shoot and be behind the camera, then you are going to be ready to snag this shot. Um, and just just be set up for it. You know, I've found that me as a, as a photographer, it's very hard for me to just go out and just like leisurely shoot. I can't just go out and say, oh, that's a nice thing. And then take a photo of it. I really have to have some sort of game plan in my head to be able to capture the photos to capture photos that I will be, uh, um, you know, happy with. Uh, so, so pre planning for me has been one of the biggest ones for sure. Now number five is to give yourself a time limit.

Raymond: 27:06 There is a lot to learn, you know, with photography you could listen to, you know, every podcast nonstop. You could watch educational courses, you could watch youtube videos, you can read blog posts all day long and still feel like you haven't got anything done. Now, if you take, you know, the hour before bed where you're usually watching the news, which somehow feels important but actually never leaves you feeling good or inspired or, or like, you know, you took anything away from it and then you use that time instead to educate yourself when the hour is up, just stop. Just stop. The key here is to, you know, obviously you're focused on one thing, how to, um, get out of focus backgrounds. You've now spent an hour watching videos on how to get out of focus backgrounds. Now stop and then really take that time to reflect on that information that you have learned.

Raymond: 28:12 Learn from it. It's a homebrewer reference right there. Speaking words. You're going to get out and brew anyway. That hour that you spend, you know, learning that one topic, it can be so much more powerful than three hours of just trying to consume it all. And I think the reason why we spend three hours trying to consume it all is because we always feel like there's one tip, one trick, one little hack that we are, you know, that we don't, that we're missing and that if we just watch one more video, we're gonna, we're gonna finally get it if we're going to finally understand it, but that's not how this works. I mean, maybe for some things, but for photography, really the education comes from putting in the time behind the camera. So spend as little time as you can learning and spend as much time as you can doing.

Raymond: 29:05 But since obviously learning, you're probably going to have more access to in your time gaps then then just utilize that time as much as you can. Okay. Number six is learn to delegate tasks or think of how you can speed up other tasks. So, um, for the past probably six months or so, uh, we started doing, uh, grocery pickup at our, at our local store. So, uh, we can, there's an app that we can download. We go online. Um, we order all of our food, like all the groceries that we're going to eat that week through this app. And then through this app, uh, they put all the groceries together, you know, the people at the store and then go ahead and put everything in a cart and bag it up for us. And then, um, when we arrived at the store, we just call a number and they come on to the car and then they loaded in the car.

Raymond: 30:01 Fantastic. And then we leave. Like we're done. We're good. We're done grocery shopping and it has saved us not only a good amount of money from only buying what we need because we not, you know, walking through every aisle thinking, Ooh, Macadamia nut brownies. That sounds delicious. You know, when we shouldn't be eating macadamia nut brownies. But it also saves more than an hour every single week from actual shopping. And you may be thinking, how the hell do you spend an hour at the grocery store shopping? And the answer is children that, that's simply it. It's still [inaudible]. They, you know, they want to look at things. They are always walking around. Um, you know, and it, it just takes time. So that right there by doing online pickup saves us 52 hours per year. That's an extra, you know, two and a half days. That is fantastic right there. Fantastic. So now that's one area of your life where you could delegate tasks, right?

Raymond: 31:06 Because I find that it is, once you come up with a meal plan, it's much easier to just shop for the ingredients in the app. It might take, you know, 12 minutes to do a week's worth of grocery shopping for us. And then while we're already out, we just stop and pick up groceries. So it's, it's, it's great. So we figured out how to delegate that task for us. And then the next thing is how to speed up other tasks. And, uh, I found that, um, you know, making meals is a huge, it takes a lot of time and I understand because, you know, we gotta eat, we're humans, you know, we want to eat good food and we got to spend time to make good food. Otherwise, you know, we would all just be eating microwave dinners, you know, three meals a day, every single day.

Raymond: 31:54 That's not good. That's unhealthy. So, um, I found that meal prepping has also saved us a good amount of time. This is sped up, um, other, you know, another task that we do because we know that we're going to have to eat every single day, multiple times a day. And that time, you know, from thinking to yourself, hmm, what is it that I want to eat? Let me go and see what we have. And then trying to Frankenstein something together and then, you know, cooking it and then putting it on the plate. Obviously you got to eat it and then cleaning it all up can take a good amount of time. Honestly, you know, more than an hour a day, uh, just in cooking. So what we decided to do is just to meal prep all of our lunches and dinners the Sunday before the week starts. Now it takes about three hours.

Raymond: 32:44 It does take, you know, a good amount of time, but three hours on a Sunday and you get all of your food ready for the entire week as opposed to every day, you know, deciding what to eat, seeing if you have anything cooking and then cleaning it all up has been a real, a real time saver. That's four extra hours per week that you can spend. You know, now at, you know, dinner time, you have something that you can just throw in the oven and then when it's done, you know, eat it while you're waiting for to cook. There's a time gap. There's where you can learn. There's where you can go in your back yard and do is where you can practice. You know, if you're not stuck, you know, uh, in front of the stove or whatever, cooking a meal, then you have that time to take your camera and you know, you don't have to create massive photo shoots, just go out into your backyard.

Raymond: 33:41 I think that a backyard is a great place to learn photography, so, so now you have that time to do that. Okay. We have made it to number seven in this seven step series. So let's go ahead and recap real quick what we have learned. Number one, get set up. Find Out, you know, make a decision on what it is that you want to learn and how you want to learn and then, uh, be prepared so that when these time gaps arise, you can take advantage of them. Stop doing something else. You know, I shared that I spent almost, almost five hours in the past seven days on Facebook. Uh, I know that I can stop doing a lot of that and I can cut that down a considerable amount and then that frees me up to do more things. Uh, in photography. Number three is don't overwhelm yourself.

Raymond: 34:40 Pick a topic, stick to it. Quote Unquote. Learn photography is not a goal. Something like, learn how to, uh, use aperture is a better goal. Number Four, pre plan. Get Ready, uh, for your shoot so that when the time comes, you're not wasting time and wishing that you could have identity differently or better. Number five, give yourself a time limit. If you cut down the amount of time that you can learn per day, you are going to maximize that time. You're really gonna take that time seriously. And then when you do that, when you take in less information, you have more brain capacity to be able to expand on those ideas and uh, let them ferment. As I say, number six is delegate tasks or think of ways that you can speed up other tasks that you do every single day. That's where I shared, uh, you know, using grocery pickup, which is free by the way.

Raymond: 35:40 And then it's crazy to me. It's free, so awesome. It is. It's one of the best. And then, uh, speed up other tasks is meal prepping throughout the week. And then those things save a lot of times. So, so now we have, let's just assume that we have saved ourselves two hours in a week and now we have a two hour block of time. And that's, that's the dream, right? You're like, Whoa, what am I going to do with this time? No, you don't want to say, Whoa, what am I going to do with this time? Hopefully you have preplanned and you know exactly what you want to do with that time. But one of the biggest hurdles that, um, a lot of people have to go through, and myself included, but I really wasn't aware of this until my wife made it, you know, very clear is that you need to eliminate guilt and guilt is, is, is a mindset guilt.

Raymond: 36:31 You know, while while all these tips will help you grow, you don't man, you know, you do need to spend time behind the camera. I've said that you just simply can't learn photography without spending time behind the camera. So, but again, I understand that, that, that guilty feeling of like, well, I've been gone all day. How can I spend more time away from the family just to do some, you know, just to take some pretty pictures. But I really think that, you know, sitting down and telling your spouse or your partner how important it is for you to learn photography from, from having a creative outlet or, or more, you know, to build the foundations of a business. Try to make a realistic time to shoot. You know, I just said that you have this two hour chunks. Let's just use one hour, maximize that time and schedule it immediately following work or even before work.

Raymond: 37:31 You know, maybe you want to get that sunrise shot, but if you do it, you know, on your way to work or on your way home from work, then that reduces the amount of time away from your family. And I know this, my, my wife has told me before that sometimes, you know, she won't go to yoga class or dinner with friends because she feels guilty that I'm home with the kids all day and then she comes home and then just leaves, you know. And while I appreciate her for thinking of me, it was also so, so, so important to focus on yourself, which has been the main theme of the podcast this year. So at some point you do have to work on eliminating that guilt that you have because that is the only way that you can grow. And if you can't get out and you know, put time in behind the camera, how far do you think you can really go?

Raymond: 38:24 You know, how you can, you know, uh, uh, doctors could watch every single, you know, uh, uh, not lab like procedure. They can watch every single procedure on video multiple times. But it's not until you actually do the thing that you, that you feel like you've learned it and that you've grasped how it works in photography is exactly the same. So if you have kids at home, you know, if you work a full time job, don't, you know, cut everything out just to pursue photography. What we're talking about here is imagine if you had an extra hour per week to go out and photograph an hour to go out and you know, go to a state park or photograph the kids or go downtown and practice street photography or set up a shoot with, with a friend or somebody who's willing to be in front of the camera.

Raymond: 39:22 Imagine what that would do for you one hour every single week. And I, I personally can cut out an hour, uh, just from being on, you know, Facebook, I could do that easily, easily and then no other time is taken away. You know, I didn't have to do anything else. It's possible. It may be hard, but it's possible. And again, if, if you, if something is really important to you, there is some level of sacrifice that has to be made in order to accomplish that. And I really think that if you tried hard, you could find that one hour per week to actually go out and shoot without interrupting almost any other area of your life. And when you do that, you're going to feel more fulfilled. You're going to be happier, you're going to obviously accelerate your learning, you're going to become a better photographer. Like that's the path to be able to do that.

Raymond: 40:24 So there you go. And Again, oh yeah, I was gonna, I was gonna wrap that up with vet that it's, it can be temporary. You know, if you, if you, because you just need that, that certain level of competency before you can just maintain the skill and the knowledge. Okay, so that is a, that is it. Those are my seven tips to um, gain more time in your life and use it to practice and learn photography. Again, I know that this is not easy, but it can be done, I promise you. So that is it for this week. I want you for real this week. I want you to get out. I want you to shoot, I want you to be safe. And most of all I want you to focus on yourself. All right? Until next week. I love you all.

Outro: 41:16 If you enjoy today's podcast, please leave us a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast player and continue the conversation with Raymond. And other listeners of the podcast by joining the beginner photography podcast Facebook group today. Thank you. We'll see you again next week.

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BPP 161: Daniel Milnor - Story Telling without Social Media

Daniel Milnor is a self proclaimed creative evangelist, disinclined to social media, film shooter his work can be found in the Los Angeles museum of art, and the George Eastman house. Today we talk all finding and telling the best story.

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In This Episode You'll Learn:

  • How Daniel got started with photography

  • Why Daniel went to college to learn photography

  • What Daniel hoped to learn by going to college

  • If Daniel thinks college is still relevant for photographers

  • What Daniel has to capture to consider a shoot a success

  • How much of Dan’s stories are planned out

  • How Daniel goes about planning a trip and story to capture

  • How shooting film has made Daniel more connected to his work

  • Why Daniel swears off social media

  • How not being on social media has effected his work

  • What Daniel feels is the best way to share his work if it’s not on social media

Resources:

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2C64F501-86C0-4F27-B524-9946121EC440@domain.jpeg

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Full Episode Transcription:

Disclaimer: The transcript was transcribed electronically and may contain errors that do not reflect accurately what the speaker said. Because of this, please do not quote this automated transcript.

Raymond: 00:00:00 Welcome to the beginning of photography podcast. This week we're talking all about how to find until the right story with your camera. So let's get into it.

Intro: 00:00:10 Welcome to the beginner photography podcast with Raymond Hatfield, the podcast dedicated to helping you grow your photography skills. Raymond interviews the world's top photographers in their field to ask questions that will get you taking better photos today. Now with you as always, husband, father, Home brewer, La Dodger Fan and Indianapolis wedding photographer Raymond Hatfield. Oh, welcome

Raymond: 00:00:39 back to this week's episode of the beginner photography podcast with you. As always, I am Oh Raymond Hatfield and today is a fantastic interview. You know, sometimes I have interviews where the photographer is very technical minded person and we talk a lot about, you know, settings or logistics and you know, how to be in the right place at the right time. And then other times I speak to photographers who were very emotionally driven and they look at the big, uh, idea of photography and it's more of a feeling for them than a strict manual of how to take photos. And very rarely do I get to talk to somebody who is both. And I think that today's guest, um, is, is just that is just that they're there. Whatever it is that your mind focuses on, you're going to find a lot in this interview that is just fantastic and I had such, such a great time.

Raymond: 00:01:37 So I'm super excited, uh, to get into this. But first I want to give a listener shout out a listener shout out this week it goes to Danni Leigh who left a five star iTunes review. Danni says, this podcast is wonderful. I love hearing the journey of each photographer and love how Raymond Geeks out asking them questions. He seems just as excited as his listeners to be listening to something new. Raymond does a great job making sure terms can be understood by everybody. I really recommend this podcast tech, everyone interested in photography. Danni. Oh my gosh, thank you so much for that review. And I cannot stress enough how, how happy I am that a, that you picked up on my excitement as well because, uh, when the podcast was started, the idea came from, I just simply wanted to talk to photographers who were better than me.

Raymond: 00:02:33 And, uh, I continued to do that. It's, I'm not here to just ask, you know, um, how do you take photos cause I don't care about that. I want to like really get into it. I don't care about what gear you have. I want to get into it. I want to find out more about you as a photographer, how, how you see the world and then also those technicals as well. Um, but I think one of the most important quotes I've ever heard in my entire life is, uh, or I guess it's a piece of advice is just simply be the dumbest person in a room. Because when you're the dumbest person in the room, all you can do is learn and soak up more information. And then that is how you're going to skyrocket your growth. And, and, and learn and grow and become a better photographer.

Raymond: 00:03:15 And this podcast is your room. I want, I want you to be the dumbest person in this room, right? Because when I speak to other photographers, I'm the dumbest person in the room and I try to learn more from them. And I hope that by you listening, you feel that same way, that wow, there's such a big, vast world of photography out there and there's so much to learn and I hope that it gets you excited and as excited as, uh, as I get as well. So thank you again, Danni, so much for leaving the podcast, a review. I truly do appreciate that. So we are going to get into today's interview right now with Dan Milner. Now, Dan Milner is a, uh, he's a documentarian, photographer, so he goes out on assignments and shoots, uh, all over the world and does new and interesting things. And I think that that is a really interesting, and it is a, a, a fantastic interview that we're going to get into right now.

Raymond: 00:04:12 But, uh, I want you to know that there are some, um, I had some difficulties with my audio recorder. It recorded all of Dan's audio extremely fast. Uh, so I had to fall back on just the standard audio that was recorded with Skype. So, uh, if you can get through kind of the cracks and the pops and a little bit of a freezing from time to time, I tried to clean as much of it up as possible, then I know that you're still going to get a ton out of this episode. So, uh, let's just go ahead and get on into it right now. My interview with Dan Milner, today's guest is Dan Milner, a self proclaimed creative evangelist, uh, with over 25 years of professional photography experience disinclined to social media. He's a film shooter and his work can be found in the Los Angeles Museum of art as well as the George Eastman House today.

Raymond: 00:05:04 I am so incredibly excited to talk to Dan. Dan, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. Of course. Thanks for having me. I love talking about this stuff. This is, this is, this is a fun one for me. I learned about you through a mutual friend of ours, Mark Silber [inaudible] a quite a guy. I mean this guy obviously has been in it for a long time and the way that he kind of sees photography is very, um, very different compared to how a lot of other photographers today talk about photography. And when you two sat down and had your conversation, I knew that you as well would be a perfect fit for the podcast to kind of share your, your story of photography. You have a very, a different take than a lot of other photographers. But before we really get on into all of that, can you take me back to when you first picked up a camera? What was that like for you? I think you have to go

Daniel Milnor: 00:05:58 a slightly further back. It wasn't what made me pick up a camera was my mom picking up a camera. So when I was a kid, uh, we lived from Indiana to want to Texas and my mom had a Pentax k 1000 and Kodachrome and she had this caliber. The pace. Yeah, the, it's probably her camera's probably still out there. Someone's probably still using it. Those things are bulletproof and up everywhere I went we had that Halliburton case. So in Wyoming, if we were in one truck, he always had to move the Halliburton case over and mom was shooting all the time. So the idea of recording with the camera was always kind of in the back of my head. And, uh, I started actually writing before I did photography, which I still do, I write every day, but I, I would, I just started writing like fictional short stories when I was in elementary school and I would write down conversations that I heard and my parents talking to their friends.

Daniel Milnor: 00:06:50 And I don't know why I did that exactly, but I just started recording and the camera became sort of an extension of the writing, whereas I just, I, and I still feel the same today. I just have this need to record things. No one sees what I'm recording or reads or any of that. I just do it constantly. And it's an addiction. It's a curse, whatever you want to call it. So, uh, and then I've got out of high school and, uh, I actually had a scholarship as a shooter, shotgun shooter, believe it or not, uh, which was a really good scholarship and it was to a very good academic school. And the coach that taught the, uh, the shooting team that traveled internationally, it was a really amazing thing. He had seen me shooting when I was a little kid and he came to my dad and said, you know, with the pay when he's older, if he can qualify, get into the stool to the school, I'll give him a scholarship as a shooter.

Daniel Milnor: 00:07:40 And so my life was headed towards that. And also studying geology. I really wanted to be a geologist. And the admissions building and the admissions program at that call was, was moving. And in the process of moving, they lost a huge number of incoming transcripts, including mine. And so the dean of admissions called my mom and said, look, it's our fault. We've locked, we have no record of him. So he's going to have to go somewhere for a semester and then transfer in the following semester. And the only school left open was San Antonio College, which was a two year community school. I knew nothing about. All I knew was that, all I thought at the time was the only people that go to sac are the ones who can't get in anywhere else. And so I was sort of heavy hearted. I went down there, I signed up for basic classes, English history, whatever, that would transfer over to this other school.

Daniel Milnor: 00:08:28 And low and behold, I find out that they have one of the best journalism programs in the country run by a guy named Jerry Townsend. And Jerry was like a no nonsense guy who, who basically saw some images that I'd made and said, hey, if you want to be a photographer, I'll give you a scholarship to be a thugger. Wow. And that was it, man. And I had, I walked in Rudy Gonzalez, who's a photographer. I think at the rocky mountain, no, the rocky mountain news has gone, I don't know where Rudy is now, but Rudy, it was amazing. Photographer was the person I met in the program and he walked up to me with a and an old icon with a screw mount 35 millimeter. And he gave me this little printout that was the sunny 16 rule for exposure. And he gave me an assignment. So literally I had never used a camera for real. And I was, I was going out on assignment. It was that quick. And you learned very, very quickly working on a daily paper, wood blinds. It was a weekly paper, I think at the school. Anyway, it freaked me out. A, I was terrified for about five minutes. And then I just said, I have to own this and I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna go halfway. I'm gonna make this my life. And that was it.

Raymond: 00:09:30 Wow. So let me, let me go back there. When you, when you first showed up to San Antonio College and you decided to take this journaling or journalism class, was it, um, was it through? Uh, the stories that you were writing, is that what you were, were getting the scholarship in or was it through the, the photographs that you had shown?

Daniel Milnor: 00:09:51 So, my mom and I were driving home one day and San Antonio and there was a massive flood happening. And so, uh, when I got out of high school, I was in the, uh, uh, merchant marine program out of Texas a and M at Galveston. That was like a four month program. And one of my roommates on the ship had a camera and he was kind of serious about photography and the ship had a photographer. And I remember being in that ship and watching the ships photographer work. And I had never seen a human move the way that this guy moved and I couldn't figure out why he was moving the way he was. And then after about a month and a half on the ship, I realized he was following light. He was looking at light and he was moving himself into positions for light. And I had never thought about light before.

Daniel Milnor: 00:10:34 So the I, when I got off the merchant marine ship, I picked up a camera. I thought I found an old camera in a closet in our house and I just started wandering around with this thing, no idea what I'm doing. My mom and our driving home one day and there was a flood happening and we come to a low water crossing and there's a school bus full of kids that's about to get swept over this bridge. And the army's brought in, or the air national guard or somebody brought in this big Chinook double screw. Hello. They're trying to lift this bus out. And so we're just standing there watching and I'm like, you know, hey, I have a camera. Maybe I should take pictures of this. So I shoot a couple of pictures and then I shoot a couple of other pictures during the flood and I'm at lunch at school with a bunch of friends sitting around the table and I have these little four by six.

Daniel Milnor: 00:11:14 This is on the table and I'm showing my friends like, Hey, look how great I am. I did these pictures and this instructor walks by and he leans over and he goes, who took those? And I thought I was in trouble, so I'm like, they're not mine. I didn't take them. And so we're all sitting there and then one's like, nope, don't know where they came from, who not ours. And he goes, I'm not leaving. I know one of you took these and that was Jerry towns and actually he was the head head of the journalism department. And I said, okay, I didn't want my friends to get in trouble. I said, okay, these are mine. And he said, I'll give you a scholarship if you want to be a photographer. And that ends, and this was not, this was a community call it, the scholarship was probably less than a hundred dollars.

Daniel Milnor: 00:11:50 It probably paid for my books. But what I didn't realize was that Jerry was, had a really remarkable career and Jerry was driven. And again, he was no nonsense. This was prior to the Internet. This was prior to digital technology. This was prior to politically correct political correctness. This was prior to having to basically baby people who were getting into photography. This was high pressure, high demand, you know, do not mess up if you come back without an image, don't bother coming back kind of thing. And so you're on assignment and people who are there are taking it very seriously, whether you're a writer or a photographer. So the first assignment I had was as a writer and I got sent to a bomb threat and one of the buildings on campus. And on the way there I thought, I wonder why they're sending natives. I'm proud I'm expendable. And then I got over there and they said, hey, we don't have a photographer free, can you make pictures? And I said, I don't really know. And that's when Rudy gave me the camera and the, and the Lens and the sun 16 rule for exposure. And I, I did a couple of assignments and I never went back to writing, even though I write everyday, I never did it for a career.

Raymond: 00:12:53 Oh my gosh. Wow. What a, what a way to get into photography. Like, Hey, here's the camera. Uh, let's go photograph a possible, uh, life, uh, you know, ending situation here. That's insane.

Daniel Milnor: 00:13:04 And the, the funny thing is the first, the first assignment I had after that was to photograph a speaker who, I don't remember who it is now, he's a well known guy. I show up and it's in an auditorium and there are at least 300 people in this auditorium and I'm like, I have a 50. I'm like, I have to be right next to this guy. I have to be up on the stage or in front. And everybody in the room is going to see me. And I stood in the back of the auditorium for a couple of minutes, minutes and I was really nervous. I thought, man, I don't want to do this. And then I thought, you know, I made a decision that I've stuck with for the rest of my life and it was a great decision how I came to it. I don't know, but I, I just said, look, I'm never going to see anyone in this room ever again. And if I go up there and trip and fall over and everyone gets a laugh out of it, that's probably the worst thing that can happen. So I'm going to own this and I'm going to go and move or I need to move to get the pictures. And I did and I still remember what the picture looked like. I still remember where it ran in the, in the, um, the paper. The school was called the ranger and uh, yeah, it was, it was great. It was a great way to learn photography.

Raymond: 00:14:09 Yeah. Very cool. Very cool. Especially to get one of your first images printed. That's a, that that's pretty rare. So that, that's, that's awesome. Um, so I kind of want to know a little bit more about, cause this is at that moment you had decided that you were going to stay at San Antonio College. Is that, is that correct to, to fulfill this? Uh, oh no, that's not what happened.

Daniel Milnor: 00:14:31 No, I, I was there knowing it was a short term gain. I still had the shooting scholarship and the geology school in play had, I wanted to go that direction. But once I started shooting photographs, I, I was like, oh, this is kind of what I've been waiting to do my whole life. And so I looked around for a four year that was in state that had a good photo journalism department. And at the time this, that the school that stood out was a Texas ut Austin. Oh. So, and at the time, this is pretty funny now because, uh, ut Austin, like all other colleges in America have changed dramatically and they're so, they're so expensive. It's what people are paying to go to school there now as beauty on my comprehension. So literally, this was like two weeks before classes started and I was like, I think I want to go to Texas.

Daniel Milnor: 00:15:23 So I applied and they were like, yeah, sure. Come on up. I got, I got in, I paid more for books than I did for tuition. I think my tuition was less than 300 bucks for the, for the semester. Oh my goodness. And Yeah, and I studied photojournalism and I had minors in Spanish and anthropology and fo it was good. The program during that there in the 80s had been one of the premier programs in the country. And when I got there, I would say that the program was in somewhat of a trough. It hadn't sort of kept up with some other programs like the University of Missouri, Western Kentucky, these were photojournalism schools. Um, and then you had the big art schools, like you know, our art center in Pasadena. You had Parsons and an ICP in New York and you know, there was a very different kinds of things.

Daniel Milnor: 00:16:07 We were very specific to photojournalism. And so I realized very shortly after getting to school that whatever I was going to come out with was going to be on my shoulders, not from the faculty saying you're going to do this. Because the faculty was training us to go in one direction. And I realized that the media lead that I needed to go in another direction and consequently I sort of fell out of favor, I think with some of the faculty who just looked at me as either arrogant or, uh, something. Because I said, look, I want to know black and white. I want to photograph black and white, but I need to know color. Because if I get out, I want to be a magazine photographer. Everybody shooting transparency, I can't, I can't shoot, try excel all the time. And they were like, no, no, no.

Daniel Milnor: 00:16:48 You're going to shoot tri-x and a 28 millimeter and everyone's going to love it. And I knew that was not going to be the case. And so I got very fortunate, um, I started shooting color right away and I bought a police scanner, an old police scanner, and every night I would drive from my horrible apartment to the I 35, which splits Austin, uh, north to south. And I would park park underneath the [inaudible] and I would turn on the police scanner and I would just wait because East Austin at that time was very unsettled. There were huge gang problems, there were, there was a lot of crime. There's a lot of stuff happening and at the time I thought, oh, as a photo journalist, this is kind of what I'm supposed to photograph. So I would go and I and I just would show, you know the police scanner would crackle and it would say, you know, box alarm, whatever.

Daniel Milnor: 00:17:39 Or they had codes for domestic violence, they had codes for shooting and I learned what all the codes were and I would show up. Oftentimes I was the first person on the scene. I'd be there before any law enforcement. And this was another education that I never saw coming was how to navigate in the field. And when you, when your police scanner goes off and you roll up on a crime scene and there's no one there, it's not just about photography, it's about all these logistics and scenarios that you have to understand before you can actually get in. Make successful pictures and get out, you know, where do you park your vehicle? If you park and you block an emergency responder, you're in trouble. If something goes sideways and your truck is blocked and you can't get out, then you're in trouble. Um, all these different things, you know, it does.

Daniel Milnor: 00:18:22 Somebody need help for more than, you know, it does that. Trump's making pictures kind of things. And so while I was out one night photographing a house fire, a guy approached me, older guy, suit and tie, oddly enough even at a fire and he was the Austin Fire Department photographer, guy named Erwin had. And Irwin said, you know, I've seen you around at these fires. Who are you? What are you doing? And I told him, it's photo journalism student. And he said to me, do you want to know how to print color? And I said, yeah, because we don't, we're not, they're not going to let us print color for like another two years. He said, come to the fire department, I have a dark room, I'll teach you how to print color. And he did. And Irwin was, was really great. He was a guy that like bent over backwards to help me.

Daniel Milnor: 00:19:06 And, uh, you know, at school you had these Joe blow processors to do a color print, which take about 10,000 years to make a print. And you know, they're good and they're fun. But after a while you're like, okay, I'd love to not have to spend 45 minutes on this print. So Irwin had an automated color processor and an enlarger with a color head. And he taught me not only how to print color, but then also told me how to use color settings to printed black and white. And that like blew my mind open. So I got lucky and, um, I had a good run at the paper. I started to freelance while I was still in school. I was doing assignments for the daily Texan, which was the paper at ut. Really good paper. And the people I was working with. I mean, um, John McConico who went on to AP, John Moore, who's at AP John Fronts, uh, John Mark Bizu who won two Pulitzers at AP, you know, these were my, um, we didn't hang out a whole lot, but these were my, my fellow students, Scott Dalton, who, who's covered the drug war in Columbia for 10 years.

Daniel Milnor: 00:20:04 Um, I went to school with some really amazing photographers. Oh my [inaudible]

Raymond: 00:20:09 goodness. So just before we move on, how long were you a a, a nightcrawler going and photographing these, you know, possibly horrific scenes. How long were you doing that for?

Daniel Milnor: 00:20:21 I did that in Austin for a couple of years. And then my first internship as I got out of school and I looked forever to try to find an internship. And this is kind of a long story with that. I'll spare you the details, but at the time it was incredibly difficult to find internships and I kept getting rejected for all kinds of reasons. Very rarely was it about imagery. It was always about extraneous things that would keep me from getting these internships. But I finally got one, I think, I don't know for certain, I think someone called on my behalf, I think I know who it was that called them on my behalf, but he has never admitted doing so. But anyway, I've got this internship, Arizona, Republican Phoenix, and it was amazing because the republic had a huge budget. It's, you know, it's a big paper.

Daniel Milnor: 00:21:05 It's state paper. They did international, national, local news. They covered the whole state that a big staff. Um, but I worked the three to 11, 3:00 PM to 11:00 PM shift as an intern and after seven o'clock, because it was a morning paper, it, unless a UFO landed in the middle of downtown, nothing you shot after 7:00 PM was good to make the paper basically. So I had my police scanner and I would leave the paper and I would drive straight south on central avenue and I would pull over and south Phoenix at the seat at the time was a war zone. It was not a happy place to be after sunset. And so for me as a photographer again, and I was like, oh, I'm a journalist. I'm supposed to be doing this stuff. So I started shooting the same thing and it was worse than Austin.

Daniel Milnor: 00:21:53 It was, you know, every night there were, there were, there's a lot of bad stuff happening. And so I got to know some of the police department. I got to know some of the fire department. And I also began to understand editorial policy and marketing and advertising and how what you saw in the paper was not necessarily representative of the news because I started coming back with images that were not popular in the newsroom because management saw them and said, no one's going to buy the paper if we're showing this stuff. And we're trying to sell ads for golf courses and they don't want to see domestic violence shootouts in south Phoenix. And so I come. And so what I started to do is I compiled this huge folder of all the work that I've made in Phoenix in the middle of the night. And when I quit at the paper and moved on, I went to the photo editor and just dropped it on his desk and said, you know, you can kind of deny that this is happening in the city, but this is happening in the city.

Daniel Milnor: 00:22:48 You know, we can't, you're supposed to be a news organization. You have to cover everything. Yes, the golf course is important. Yes. The Phoenix Suns are important and the cardinals and I get it. It's, you know, and that's the thing about a community paper is you have to cover the community. And thankfully by the time I left South, Phoenix was making some progress and I don't know what it's like now, but you know, most of these places have been gentrified to some degree. The violence levels are down. I mean, there are exceptions in the country where there's some pretty dicey places out there. But, um, I learned a lot, you know, and the fact that I could speak Spanish, uh, the police loved it because I would show up sometimes at like domestic disputes and translate where the police, yeah, they would say, hey, you speak Spanish.

Daniel Milnor: 00:23:27 You guys speak Spanish? Well, Hey, what would he saying to her? And vice versa. And, and I'm like, and at the time I forget what I was probably like 22 and I'm, I'm walking around like, is this really happening? And uh, and just crazy scenes, you know, I mean, I got shot at once in [inaudible] at a little league baseball game. There were people all over the place. There had to be 2000 people around. And I was photographing a, a kid who was part of the gang in Austin and I'd known him for a long time. We'd spent like four months together and we were hanging out. Uh, I was with his gang and we were all sort of hanging around drinking beer, hanging out in this little section of the buttery over that was theirs. And someone came in and said, hey, so-and-so from this rival gang called Egv east of audio there, he's at this other location and you know, we've got to go get him.

Daniel Milnor: 00:24:18 And so they all run to go. And I was like, well, I want to go to take pictures. And I didn't know what get him meant. No. I was like, oh, they're probably gonna fight. And so we roll up and I get out of the car and like an idiot first of all at a 24 millimeter lens on, which is mistake number one. Number two, I've strobe on major mistake number three. I put myself in the worst possible position, which was between the guys that I was with and between the guy that they were going after, but there were people all over it. So there was a little league baseball game happening to my right. There was another one behind me and I was like, nothing's gonna, nothing's gonna happen here. And then I heard a window break car window and it just, I saw literally it was like, it was as if a gunshot had gone off.

Daniel Milnor: 00:25:07 All the people at the little league games collectively went like this. Everybody froze, duck and started taking cover. And again, I'm like looking around, not quite putting it together. And then full auto rounds guide, the guy whose car window was broken gets it's trapped in the parking lot. He stands up, turns around with fully automatic and just unloads on the parking lot. So like I'm hearing these rounds hitting and I'm like, maybe I should take cover. I didn't take any photographs, which is not not good. But I remember looking down at my feet and there was a mom and a little boy behind the front wheel of a car and, and you could tell that this was not, this was not the first time they'd had to do this, that this was, this kind of violence was relatively common. And so the whole, you know, 10 seconds goes by, I have no idea what I did.

Daniel Milnor: 00:25:58 I wake up and I'm next to her on the ground behind the car and the guy, that's stupid. The shooting is driven away. And I waited and I waited for the police to show up and nobody showed up. Nobody came. And about 10 minutes later, the games were gone again, everyone's back plan. And I was like, wow, this is a, you can get used to anything. Wow. So did tell me that you made the conscious decision not to take any photos in that moment? No. Hell No. I didn't know what I was doing. I froze. I mean, I, there's a, there's a 10 to 15 second period where I have no idea what I did. I got from standing down to the ground. So I did something smart. But the other thing was the distance involved with a 24 and a strobe, if I'd pop the strobe, it would have highlighted my position, which is probably not a good idea. And with a 24, he would have been, you know, microscopic in the frame and I just, it was just a bad move. It was bad all the way around, but I didn't get shot. So.

Raymond: 00:26:54 Yeah. Well, yeah, you're here today and I'm, I'm, I'm thankful for that. I'm sure it's, you're thankful for that as well. Wow. Uh,

Daniel Milnor: 00:26:59 but I also realized that, that, you know, the sort of getting shot at thing was not something that I was keen on. Oh yeah. And the other thing was the idea of having a picture of the guy doing the shooting was not what was intriguing to me. What was intriguing to me was the game starting again five minutes later. And the fact that this was conditioned, this was a conditioned response to, to perpetual simmering sort of crime and violence and you get used to it and all of a sudden, you know, uh, it's normal. It's like, oh, they're not shooting at me. This is totally fine. I'll be fine. That's what was intriguing to me. That is really the moment that I went from being a photo journalist to a documentary photographer that I was not the front lines and stuff was not, I don't think I have the fortitude to do the front line stuff, but what I did have was the fortitude to do longterm stories.

Raymond: 00:27:54 Yeah. I definitely want to get into to you as a documentarian and doing these long form stories, uh, as I think that sets you apart from, from a lot of other photographers. But as you mentioned as well, a lot of people are, you know, we're, we're still kind of, uh, under the impression that you should go to college to make it in a profession that you want to be in. But with the rising cost of college, a lot of people are wondering, you know, is photography something that you really need to go to school for? So I'm sure that when you made the decision to go to, uh, Texas and Austin to, uh, to go specifically pretty much for photography, I want know, uh, what did you hope to have or what did you hope to know by the time you left school? And do you think that it's still as important to go to college today, uh, as it was when you went,

Daniel Milnor: 00:28:50 what did I help to get out of it, you know, fame for

Raymond: 00:28:52 in a famous I right out of college.

Daniel Milnor: 00:28:55 No. And uh, and I had an apartment right in the middle of all the sororities, which was a good move. That was, that was a good move. Uh, in hindsight now I ha, let me think about that. What was my goal? Getting out? I wanted to be a professional photographer. And at the time there were, there was a clear foot path that you followed to go from a to B to c to d and how you became a photographer. Uh, the short answer to the second part of the question is it's not necessary. It's not critical, essential to go to college. However, in my opinion, it is critical to actually learn photography. So whether you do that in college or you do that with a mentorship program where you do that through a series of workshops or a combination of all the above, if you're going to be a legitimate photographer, and this is, people are going to take offense at some of this I know, but there's a big difference between being an online photographer and being an actual photographer.

Daniel Milnor: 00:29:49 There are two industries working simultaneously. You have the online photo community and you have the on on earth, realtime human being, editors, agents, agencies, assignments and professional photographers. These are two entirely separate groups of people that oftentimes don't even recognize one another. They don't know any, they don't know each other. So, for example, you can have a guy that has a million Instagram followers who does youtube that has a ton of followers and blah, blah, blah. And if you said to any agent or editor or photo art buyer in the photo industry and said, have you ever heard of this person? There's a good chance they're going to say no idea who that is because that's the online photo world. The online photo world to me is very deceptive because you have a lot of people selling things. And so, you know, hey look at me. And basically it's based on numbers based on following and traffic.

Daniel Milnor: 00:30:39 And that's a very dangerous thing. Very different thing from saying, here's a really good photographer. I know tons of good photographers, elite level people who have no social following whatsoever. They just, cause they're busy working all the time. They're actually doing real assignments, they're doing editorial work, they're doing commercial advertising, fashion and fine art, automotive, et Cetera. So these two very different things. There was no internet when I got out of school. So my goal was to get into the, into the photography world for real. I wanted to make my living from photography and that meant I wanted to have health insurance, I wanted to have money in the bank. I wanted to, I didn't want to, I've never been a believer in this concept of the starving artist. I think that there are plenty of starving artists, but I think that that in some ways is something that you have to mentally get over.

Daniel Milnor: 00:31:25 There's no reason if you're a, if you're capable of making unique work and that's easier said than done, but if you're capable of making unique work, there's no reason to starve. You know, you have to, you have to be intelligent about it. But there's a way of doing it. At least there was at the time. So I got out of school knowing that I needed to get a job at a newspaper that was step one on. And then while I was at the newspaper, after I had been there for awhile, I would start freelancing for editorial clients on the side magazine clients. And then eventually when you had enough magazine clients, you would leave the newspaper and you would jump into the magazine world. And from the magazine world that led to commercial photography and from commercial photography to advertising where the serious money is, and that's still true to this day, is advertising. Photography is really where the massive budgets are. Not nearly as massive as they once were, but the ultimate end game was to be able to shoot advertising very sporadically, just enough for me to be able to pay for my own documentary projects. That's really the rub is most documentary photographers, it seems like, or a significant percentage are doing other kinds of work to try to make money to do their own projects. That's the, that's the key. It's hard. It's not, it's getting harder every day.

Raymond: 00:32:40 Yeah. So as a documentarian, in your own words, what would you say is your job as the photographer? What do you have to do or capture to consider your job a success?

Daniel Milnor: 00:32:55 I think you have to make original work. Um, that's, that's the key. It's very easy for me to go online and see what somebody else has done and go out and copy it. There's people who are doing that every day, every generation of photographer, every generation. There's a handful of people worldwide that come along that add something new to the conversation. I am not one of those people. I wish I was, but I'm not. But every, you know, you have Sebastian, you had, let's go way back. You have Jean Smith, w Jean Smith, documentary photographer, probably the best documentary photographer that's ever lived after Jean Smith. The next person that jumps out to me would be somebody who likes semesters. So Gado. And so Gado was not only a good photographer, but he was able to secure funding. He was able to secure longterm assignments. He was able to envision where his projects would be in 10 years time.

Daniel Milnor: 00:33:45 And so God would also work on a project for 10 years before it was before it was released. So he did, you know, uh, the, his first project, big one that got recognition was the famine in Ethiopia. And then he did a project in the Americas than he did workers. And these were 10 year increments. And so Gada would come to someone like Kodak where I worked at one point and he would say, I want x amount of money. And they would give it to him because he come in and say, if you give me this money, this is what's going to transpire. And it was all worked out over like a five, six, seven year period. And you're like, nobody else is doing this. While it's remarkable, you want to be able to key for really the key to be an a to being a photographer is to try to tell unique stories in a way that people can immediately recognize who did the work. And that's hard today when there's so many people working in. So much of the work you see looks exactly the same. And it's hard. It took 10 years of shooting every day to figure out what I was doing. Literally 10 years.

Raymond: 00:34:43 I believe it. I believe it. So was it, you'll work for the paper, which seems very running gun. Do it now let's tell the story right away, which is, maybe I'm wrong, but I would consider kind of short form. Uh, did that kind of, um, open you up to the idea of long form stuff or, or get you excited for that?

Daniel Milnor: 00:35:05 Yeah, so the, the daily paper, especially a big day daily where you're getting multiple assignments every day, you get up in the morning, you go into the paper, there's a little basket that has your name on it and it is a stack of paper. And each one of those is an assignment. And the beauty of that is that, and we're shooting at the time, I'm shooting 35 millimeter transparency film. So I'm shooting slide film. This is not easy. It's not easy. You've got to get it right. Your exposure has to be right. And the assignment range on a typical day would go something like this. Um, city council meeting in a windowless room with three people and overhead fluorescent lighting, which, which meant you had to put a green Magenta filter on your camera and a Green Gel on your strobe, balance it out for the, you know, with, with a hundred speed, Fuji Chrome pushed to three 20, you could shoot it f for at a, you know, 30th of a second with a strobe bounced off the ceiling and you do this and these pictures are horrible and they suck and no one should have ever assigned this.

Daniel Milnor: 00:36:02 But you've got it and you're like cursing the paper and you're cursing the person that assigned it and the people in the city council don't want you there and you don't want to be there and you, so you bang that thing out and you're like, okay, well get me Outta here. And then you get in the truck and your beeper goes off. At the time we had beepers, no cell phones and it's, and it's always nine one one. It's always a panic emergency. Hey, this fell through the gaps. You know, you have to go photograph the mayor. And so you go, okay. And you go and you shoot a portrait of the mayor. And then on the way back to the paper, there's a brush fire that fires up in downtown Phoenix and there's houses on fire and they're like, go shoot the brush fire.

Daniel Milnor: 00:36:40 So you're going from all one thing to another all day long. And it is the ultimate training ground. But it's frustrating because you don't get time. So on this on the side, on the days of the week that I was not working or from, if I work through 11 I was still up at whatever, six in the morning I would be out shooting projects. And so what you were hoping for was that the paper would occasionally would throw you a bone and say, look, we're going to give you a picture package on, you know, the community section. And they ended up running three, four, five pictures and that, what's your appetite for [inaudible]? This is great. And also my, you know, I'm, I'm at the half price bookstore in Austin looking at books of my idols. I'm looking at Salgado, I'm looking at Nachtwey, I'm looking at Jill Perez and I'm looking at an Alex Webb and Maggie Steber and I'm looking at the books and the work that they're putting out. And I'm like, that's who I want to be. I want, these are multi year, you know, 50 to a hundred images over a five to 10 year period on the same story. That is intriguing to me. It still is.

Raymond: 00:37:45 Yeah. Yeah. So, so when, when did you, what was, I guess your first assignment of, of this caliber? Was it something that you had given yourself that you decided to tackle? Did you get an idea from somewhere else? Was it commissioned?

Daniel Milnor: 00:37:59 So all of the best work I've ever done. This is really sad, but I think it's true for about 95% of all the photographers out there. The best work I've ever done was all self assigned because what I learned very quickly, and I'm, I just, I turned 50 in January, so I'm, I got the tail end of what I would consider the last sort of real photo industry that existed as ar, as the generations before us new. So there was a real editorial world. People were paying rates, you could get contracts, all of these things that are really out the window, these, so, but I learned very quickly that to get a multi-day assignment was rare. So you know, I'd get a three or four day assignment editorial assignment. Those were few and far between. Most of them were these quick hit things that I thought, this isn't helping me at all.

Daniel Milnor: 00:38:51 I'm shooting all these pictures and these pictures are other people's pictures. These are not mine. Yes. So in 19 1997 I'm living in southern California. I'm assisting for a photographer named Rick recommend. And Rick, who I think is actually from New Mexico. Um, Rick was really helpful to me because he sort of took me under his wing, taught me a lot of things about photography, not actual image making, but taught me about invoicing and assignments and working with editors and all this stuff that I had no experience with. I didn't know what I was doing. And so Rick, I assisted for Rick for several years, um, and he was super helpful to me and he would get multi-day assignments. He would do stuff for the geographic and life and time and people and all these things. So he was, uh, he was a working, uh, editorial guy all the time.

Daniel Milnor: 00:39:39 And so, but I realized that the odds of me becoming him were very slim. And so I decided my wife works for Canon or worked for Canon for 30 years, and she got a call from someone she knew that worked at Kodak and they said, Hey, we're looking for rep in southern California. And my wife said, oh, and she'd get my husband to do it, he'd be great. So I did that job for a few years and to get the job I had to sign a conflict of interest letter that said I would no longer do assignments because if I was doing assignments then I'd be competing with the people that I was trying to help at Kodak and I said, okay, I'll sign this if you sign something that says I get all the free film, Chem host and paper I can possibly use, which for Kodak was nothing.

Daniel Milnor: 00:40:23 Of course they signed it, they signed it, but it was not a big deal and so I sold all my equipment except for like a 35 millimeter thick guy to like 50 and a 35 and for the next four years, the only pictures I made were longterm projects of my own assignment and I realized at the end of four years what I was onto and that this was the best work I've ever done and the only work I wanted to do. So I didn't want to do magazines work anymore. I didn't want to do commercial photography, I just wanted to do longterm projects. That is very difficult to do in the u s because there's so little market for it. And every year the market was getting smaller and smaller and now there's virtually nothing. There's virtually no outlets for that kind of work outside of the books.

Raymond: 00:41:07 That is a shame. That is a shame. Uh, I know growing up and I, I talked about this in the beginner photography podcast Facebook group before. I've always said that kind of when I first got into photography, my dream was always like to follow the band, you know what I mean? Like, or follow the team from, from the underdogs to like winning the, you know, the world series that year or whatever it was, or coming out with a granny winning album. Um, and, but cause you never really saw those photos. You'd see everything in between and you would never see the entire book. And that's when, that's, that's where when you would go to these bookstores and you would see these photo books of these, of these singular events, you know, a singular topic that, that took up the entire book. It really puts you in that place because suddenly you knew the story and it didn't take any words at all. So I want to talk more about the storytelling aspect of photography. As I've said many times on the podcast that a great photo is so much more than just the sum of its settings and a lot of what makes a photo great is the story that it tells now specializing in these longterm stories. D, How much of the story is planned out and you know like, like, like you know what you want to capture versus just showing up and simply reacting?

Daniel Milnor: 00:42:30 Well it entirely depends on the project and it depends on two primary ingredients, which are time and access. How much time do you, and what's your access? Like assets back in the mid nineties was very easy. If you had a press credential, you get anything you want and you'd show up in the middle of nowhere and some part of the country and without a press pass and people would be like, hey, you want to come into our house, we'll make lunch. You could hang out, whatever those days are. Those days are gone. Everybody's suspicious now. So time and access are really critical. But for me, I was working at the newspaper in Austin at the daily texts and I was freelancing for like anyone who would hire me that doing these, you know, little assignments here and there. And I went to half price books one day, and I'll never forget this, I go into the photo book section and there's two books.

Daniel Milnor: 00:43:16 There's one book called Mexico, which is by a magnum photographer named my boss who I met 15 years ago. And his, his primary work at that time was a multi like 15 year product on Islam all around the world, which is this remarkable book, if you can get it. But he did this little book called Mexico and Mexico was basically all black and white, all like, uh, and it was just kind of random. It was like a personal notebook from Mexico. And I looked at it and I'm like, oh, I like this. And then I opened this book called Telex, Iran by a photographer named Jill Perez, who's a French guy who, a magnum photographer as well. And I just froze because one, I had never seen pictures like this before. They were so different and so sophisticated compared to what I was looking at. It literally freaked me out.

Daniel Milnor: 00:44:05 I wasn't entirely sure what to make of it, but the book was about the Iranian Revolution in 79 and GL had been there for a long time working on this project and this story and the book, the copy, the writing, and the book were telex is between he and that Magnum office in Paris. If I have that, if I remember this correctly. And what got me was that was the honesty in the telexes because here's a guy that's already established at Magnum. He's got multiple stories under his belt. He's an incredible photographer. He's a very intelligent guy that's way more than just a photographer. But there's a vulnerability in these telexes that I did not expect to see of of the, of the doubt that he had in his mind and the uncertainty and the challenges. And I was like, wow, I'm in the same boat that he is like he's, even though he's way better than I am.

Daniel Milnor: 00:44:54 And he's way more established and he's got these books, you know, he's, there's hope for me because he's, there are cracks in his armor, he's admitting. And so, but I didn't buy that book, which was a big mistake because that was a first edition telex Iran, which is now probably worth like $5,000 but anyway, I was like, I can't, I can't buy this. It's too intimidating for me to look at this. So I bought the Abbas book, which I still have, but it haunted me that I'd never bought this book. And then like five years ago, I'm sitting in a cafe in Brooklyn and I had my camera on the table in front of me, which is an emperor like a, and a guy walks by and he goes, nice camera. And I look up and it's jeal and it turns out that the coffee shop I was sitting at is like half a block from his studio.

Daniel Milnor: 00:45:38 And I said, holy cow. I go, he's Y'all Perez. And he sat down and then he goes, hey, let's go to the studio. And then I called the founder of blurb who was in New York at the time and I said, you're never going to believe this. I'm going to show Perez a studio. And she was like, Hey, I want to go to show a studio. So we went to a studio and we had lunch with him and he gave us like a t. It was amazing. And he and I wrote letters back and forth for quite a while and I told him, I said, I screwed up. I didn't buy your book. I should've bought your book, you know, in Austin all those years ago. And then something funny happened about six months ago, a friend of mine moved from California to Wisconsin, a really good friend, good photographer.

Daniel Milnor: 00:46:20 And he called me and he said, we're having a going away party. Make sure you come to the going away party. I said, okay. So we get to the party and he goes, where's your truck? I said, oh, I parked around there. He goes back your truck up over here. And he opens up the back of his truck and it's filled with photo books. And he said, look, I can't take these with me. And the first book on the stack on top was Tellico Iran and he's like, and he's like, here's the book I know you're really going to want no. So I got my copy. Wow. What an amazing story. What an amazing story. That must have felt really good in that moment. Oh Man. That book is, it's still freaks me out. I mean he gave me a stack of books that are theirs.

Daniel Milnor: 00:47:06 To me, books are evidence. You can't deny what's in there and they are, they are the quality bar that has already been set. So if I'm, if I'm coming to new Mecca, northern New Mexico and I'm going to do a project about the culture here, then I have books like Norman mouse costs, the descendants that, and Jimmy Santiago was the one who wrote the copy for the book, a Jack Woody at twin palms published it and Norman Mascot is the photographer. That book is there. It's my responsibility as a photographer to know about that book and to know what's in it. And I'm either going to add to that conversation or I'm not doing the project because it's already been done and it's been done at a very high level. And that's one of the big things that you'll see today with the online photo community is there's very little research done.

Daniel Milnor: 00:47:55 So with sometimes I'll see, I'll hear about a project and it's being hyped and everyone's like, oh, that's amazing and it's great, it's amazing. And I look at it and I go, not only is it not amazing, it was already done five years ago by So-and-so, and when they did a much better job, it's that the new photographer was able to learn how to market the thing and spin it with through social and marketing numbers and traffic and be like, well look, I'm getting all this buzz. But ultimately when you look at the work you go, this is just not that good. That one of the big misconceptions about photography in the digital age is that it's easy now because of all the technology and that is completely inaccurate. It's as difficult to make a good image today as it always has been. And it's just as rare because to get a lifetime sort of signature image you need, you need the right light, you need the right timing, the right composition.

Daniel Milnor: 00:48:44 And it's really hard. And it's rare. I mean, I go maybe if I'm lucky a couple of times a year I'll get something that I think would fit if I, if I've reduced my life down to the top 20 images, it's rare that something new comes along and knock something out of that original 20 it's really hard to get work like that. And so I think the Internet and the technology fools us into thinking that what we're making is really good. Most of the time it's not. And that's totally fine. I think as a photographer you need to be prepared to fail the vast majority of the time. And for some reason when I was in school, and again I'm 50 so it was a little bit different philosophy back then, but failure wasn't viewed in the same way. You kind of expect that you are going to fail most of the time.

Daniel Milnor: 00:49:29 And when you put your work up in front of your peers, they were going to tear you apart piece by piece. And that's typically what happened. And then suddenly failure wasn't viewed the same way and you weren't supposed to talk about it and you weren't supposed to admit it and whatever. But I think, I mean, look, if you're a photographer and I'm a photographer and you put your work down in front of me and I put my work down, you're going to see things you like and you're gonna see things you don't like. And you have to be able to say, look, Milner, you know, I, I see where you're going here, but you're not there yet. It's not good enough. And then I have to be able to set thick enough skin to go, hey, well thanks for being honest with me. What do you think I should do?

Daniel Milnor: 00:50:04 Like what's missing? What? How do I fill the gaps or whatever. And so that's the kind of education that you get when you're learning photography in a school. It's not about technical stuff. You know ut Austin, the tech pickle, literally the entire amount of time that will be spent on technical was probably less than a week. And the rest of the three and a half, four years of the stuff was had nothing to do with technique. It had everything to do with process about story, about editing, about sequencing, about design. Those are the important things. The equipment, nobody cared. I mean, you know, people had of Nikon FM body with a 28 and a roll of triax and they were like here. That was the extent of the gear conversation. Sure. W we probably spent more time talking about printing technique and photographic technique. Yeah, cause it's con it's complicated.

Raymond: 00:50:58 So, okay. So, so we talked about when you first started creating a a gallery of say 20 images of your life's work, it's very hard to, to, to break that, to move one of those out and replace it with a new photo today. Yeah. So if we wanted to do that, if we want to take better photos, just so that I'm clear, the best way to do that is constant critiquing, constant ripping apart our own photos to, to, to continue to grow. Is that it?

Daniel Milnor: 00:51:32 Well, I would say the first step is you have to practice, you know, photography is a, is a physical skill, right? It's, it's hand eye coordination. It's anticipation, it's knowledge of your subject matter. It's an understanding of light, of timing, of composition. But it's, it's like working out, it's a skill. It's like riding, riding your bicycle. You ride every day for 30 days. At the end of 30 days you're like, well, I feel pretty fit. But that first day you're riding and you're like, oh my God, I think I'm going to die. Like that's, and photography's the same. So for example, um, I had not worked on a project for quite awhile and two and a half weeks ago, I flew to Albania and I shot every day for two weeks in Albania trying to produce a project. And the first couple of days in Albania I was terrible.

Daniel Milnor: 00:52:16 I mean I'm looking at things happening and saying, oh, there was my phone. Oh, I should have shot that. I just wasn't good because I'm sloppy. I'm slow, I'm not looking, I'm not anticipating, I'm fumbling around and I've been doing this for 30 years. So practicing and staying sharp, um, I think being aware of what has already been done and, and understanding where you fit in as a photographer and what the context of you, what your context is in the grand scheme of things. Really important. Let's say for example, I want to do a project on the border. The border has been photographed in a million times over. I've done multiple projects down there myself as have many of my friends. So if I go to an art buyer or an agent in New York and I want to show my work and I'm showing a project on the border, I better know what's already been done.

Daniel Milnor: 00:53:02 Because if I put something in front of this person and I say, look at me, look how original I am. And she looks at me and says, you know, so-and-so, and so and so and so and so already did the same project. It makes me look really bad. So even if I, even if these people have already done the project and I can sit with her and I can say, look, I know that bill and Mary and Tom all did this project before, but this is why I did it and this is I'm Kay, I'm going to take the baton from them and I'm going to move at one step forward because I'm adding this other element or I have a different angle or I got better access. And so you're adding to what's been done and for whatever reason today, I see there's a lot of aversion to this idea that you have to know what's been done because people want to believe that they're amazing and they want to believe that very quickly that you know, you get out of school and you're like, I want to be famous, you know, I want big assignments and do this and that and you kind of, that's a hard game to win.

Daniel Milnor: 00:53:54 And I think if you're, there's a big difference between being hot for a year as a photographer and having a 30 year career. Those are two entirely. It's a, it's a marathon and a sprint and I'd always rather be in the marathon conversation and to be in the marathon you have to do some basic fieldwork and some groundwork and have some basic knowledge, so practicing having a fundamentally sound, but then also just learning who you are with a camera because if you can't make original photographs, there is no chance that you will have a 30 year career. None because there's too many people who can do everything. Jack of all trades, low level commercial photographer has a studio, what do you shoot? I'll shoot anything that comes in. I'll shoot a wedding, I'll shoot a portrait, I'll shoot a product, I'll shoot this, I'll shoot that.

Daniel Milnor: 00:54:41 There's 10 thousands of these people out there and what you end up doing is you get into these pricing wars where the price goes down and down and down because everybody's competing for these small jobs. That's a hard run. I'd much rather take my chances, have a part time job doing something else, learn who I am as a photographer or be able to make original work. And then when clients see that original work, they say if, if we want that kind of photography, the only person who can do it is that person that has value. That's why people still pay for photography is because certain people do things that nobody else can do and there's value in that.

Raymond: 00:55:16 Yeah. So you mentioned being not being a jack of all trades and if you want to have a 30 year career, you have to really be a master at something. You have had that 30 year career in your own words, what are you a master of wasting time? That's why you're here with me today. Yeah, that makes sense.

Daniel Milnor: 00:55:38 Photographically, I don't know. I don't know if there's anything that I would call, it's hard to call myself a master at anything. I think that there are things that I've learned how to do well and there's things that took me a long time to figure out, but once I figured them out, I think that they, they've helped. I think this is probably not a great answer for you, but I think what I realized a long time ago was that it wasn't enough anymore to just be a photographer. You need to be a more well rounded human being. Because here's the funny thing, there is a lot of photographers out there a lot more than ever. So let's say that you want a commercial assignment and the creative agency that's in charge of assigning the photographer, a photographer, they're looking around, they're looking around and when they meet with you, let's say you go to a portfolio review and there's, they're looking at 10 photographers that day and you walk up there and I walk up and our friends walk up and this are our buyers looking at you and she's looking at your portfolio and she's looking at my portfolio.

Daniel Milnor: 00:56:39 She's not just looking at your portfolio, she's looking at you and she's listening to you. And she's looking at your, how you're dressed, she's listening to your vocabulary to see you have a sense of humor. Does he have a massive ego? And more importantly, are the clients going to like this person? Can I leave this person alone on the set with a client and they will not embarrass me? Will the clients like them? Will they, if something goes wrong, will they be able to handle it? What's their, what's their crew like? What's their plan B? Like all of these different things that in photo school, they don't teach you anything about this. Right? So you learned that being a photographer is about being a well rounded, intelligent human being that is continually on the hunt for new knowledge. The photography will come with practice and with sort of perseverance. But all the peripheral things to me are more important today than they ever have been because it's way more than the pictures. That's it.

Raymond: 00:57:37 So what was I going to get into this for a few more questions, but is this one of the reasons why you are, um, according to your website, you, you believe that, uh, social media that you are a complete and total non-believer of social media and that these platforms have done irreparable damage to human communication skills and attention span?

Daniel Milnor: 00:58:02 Jeez. Did I say that? Well, it sounds, whoever wrote the copy on your website, that sounds negative. Uh, yeah. But yeah, in essence, I believe exactly that, but there's a little background here. So I don't want social media. I think things like Instagram, uh, are proving themselves to be one of the most detrimental, uh, contributions to our society that I think I've ever seen. I always kind of joke with my friends. I'm not sure that that's a species we will survive. Instagram, you know, it's unleashing a LE, a level of consumerism on the planet that we simply can't sustain. It's unleashing a, a battle against the environment that we can't sustain or can't win. But this goes way back. So, um, and here's the ironic part is that I was one of the first people that I know in the entire world to be on Facebook.

Daniel Milnor: 00:58:57 I went to New York to do an assignment and it was for someone that had something to do with the Central Park Committee. So I'm talking to her in New York and she says Facebook. And I'm like, what's that? And she goes, oh, this is new thing called Facebook. When you get back to California, you should sign up for it. And so I'm like, okay. I fly back to California, I sign up on Facebook. No one I know is on Facebook, not a single person, it's just me and I'm on there. And there's other people on there. I'm like, Hey, this is kinda cool. And same thing when in scrap hats, I'm walking down the street in San Francisco. Friend mine calls me and goes, hey, there's this new thing called Instagram. You should check it out. I stop in the middle of the street, I download the app and I start Fitbit, fitbit, start taking pictures and posting on Instagram.

Daniel Milnor: 00:59:35 So I was on these things long before any of my friends were on there and including all my friends who are basically given their entire life to be platforms. But six years ago I was here in New Mexico. My birthday is January 1st I woke up on my birthday and I was like, I don't believe in this anymore. This is not what we were originally sold of what this is. I said, I am watching this. These networks destroy my friends. They are like skittish, scared little creatures who can't get through a conversation without looking at their phone. They're insecure, their work has gone downhill and the work they're producing is only being produced to try to drive numbers on these social networks. And it's garbage cause it looks like everybody else's, it looks like Instagram content. So I called the founder of blurb and I called him the marketing director of Laura, who was my immediate boss at the time.

Daniel Milnor: 01:00:26 And I said, uh, I know this is probably isn't going to go over well, but I'm deleting seven networks right now and I don't ever want to go back on his networks. And the marketing director said at the time, she said, I hate them too. I think this is all, you know, go ahead. So I thought, oh, that's great. And then the founder said, go ahead and do it, but write about why, why does you're doing it. And so I did and I did a couple, I deleted social media, which is by far the highest traffic post I've ever done. And look at you went to those numbers. Well it's because here's something funny happened. So two weeks goes by and I went through detox. I would literally, in moments of like call, just pick up your phone just to look at first. And then I just pick it off for no reason.

Daniel Milnor: 01:01:09 And I'd be in the field shooting and I'd go, oh, I should check like Facebook. As I'm walking down the street somewhere trying to shoot, I'd be thinking about Instagram and I thought this is bad. So two weeks detox. And then after two weeks I kind of came through the veil and I looked back and I thought, man, I am I, that was just not good. So I, uh, wrote a post, the posted got all this traffic. I don't know the specific numbers, but it was by far more than any post done. But something funny happened, kind of tragic, is that people began to write me asking for help. They were saying, I'm physically addicted. I lost my house, I lost my job, I lost my family. I can't stay off of Facebook. I'm on Instagram 60 hours a week. I'm on nerves, nervous, I'm unhappy.

Daniel Milnor: 01:01:53 I'm taking depression medication. So I had to write a follow up post and saying, I'm not a medical person. I'm not a psychiatrist. If you need medical help, please seek, you know, attend, seek medical attention or psychiatric help. But that's not my role. I'm just not qualified to, to help in that way. That post was six years ago. I get emails every week from people all over the world saying, help me help, help. Um, you know, I can't get out. And that's the, one of the things that's very interesting to me is that I think all of us are probably touched by someone in our family or close to our families that has substance abuse problem, right? Either alcohol, drugs, whatever, and you and people are pretty thirsty. Uh, it's pretty easy for people to say, yeah, that's an addiction. You know, it's too bad.

Daniel Milnor: 01:02:36 Get help, whatever. Then you move down the scale and you come to things like sex and gambling and you go, well, I've got a, I've got, I'm a sex addict, or you know, I'm a gambling addict and you get up. There's a lot less people that want to say, Yep, those are legitimate addictions. You know, there's a lot of people that go, oh, those are just choices. You should just stop. Then you slide down the scale even further and you get to technology and there are so few people who want to admit that something like Instagram is a physical addiction, but it is, it is a dopamine physical addition. And I have seen it ruined. So many of my friends who are photographers whose just their entire existence is based on that app and it's not, I don't want any part of it. I have.

Daniel Milnor: 01:03:22 So I deleted all my accounts and then about four years later, the marketing director of blurb at the time said to me, it would really help us if you had an Instagram account. And I said, never gonna happen. I'm never going to do that. And so about 15 minutes later, or I'm sitting right next to her, she says, I just created an account in your name game. Don't worry. Don't worry about it. We will manage it. And I said, okay. And so two days goes by and I'm like, I better look at what they're putting on there cause it has my name on it and none, it's not their fault, but they don't know me. You know, they're not intimate with me as a photographer. They don't know my philosophy. And so the work they are putting on, the captions, the style, the look at it said, no, I can't do this.

Daniel Milnor: 01:04:02 So I started managing the account and then that lasted until I guess about six or eight months ago and I thought, why am I doing this? This, I don't like anything about this. I don't think it's helping blurb really in particular. So I quit posting and I haven't heard anything. So go back and look, why are you not posting? But you know, I think, I think anyone who gives themselves two weeks away from social, I think you'll be amazed because if you can survive two weeks cold Turkey, no access, no like sneaking peaks, no nothing. If you do two weeks, you will look back and you will see it in a very different light and I can almost guarantee that it's going to make you at least take pause to one, how much time you're putting in and two, how fake it is, how phony the entire thing is. You know there's, there's a big difference between being a good photographer and being someone who knows how to build following. Those are both, those are both legitimate skills. Absolutely. Building a following is a legitimate skill because it can give you the freedom and independence to operate on your own. But don't confuse the fact of someone with a big following is a good photographer because very often those two things do not overlap.

Raymond: 01:05:19 So, so then, so then let me ask you a question. Let me ask you a question because Canon, uh, not too long ago, uh, had hired a photographer to do an ad campaign and then they ended up letting that photographer go because even though they said that this photographer was, uh, was, was well suited for this ad campaign, she didn't have enough Instagram followers, so she let her go. So this is, this is just horrible to hear, you know, it, it's devastating to a lot of new photographers. Uh, how has, uh, not having a social presence affected you and um, I suppose for lack of a better term, your, your ability to, to get work?

Daniel Milnor: 01:06:01 Well, a couple of things. Number one for Canon to do that, it's just dumb. That's just a dumb and it's short, shortsighted, and then it looks really, the optics on that looks really bad as well. Um, but that's all the companies are doing that and the companies are lost, right, because all of this stuff came on so fast. They were caught so flat-footed and they're playing catch up. And a camp, a company like Canon Kennedy's a very conservative, slow moving company. That's a little bit like a big cruise ship. You know, you turn the, the, the, the uh, the, the steering wheel basically, what am I blanking on the a, you know the, the wheel ship. The wheel. Yeah. There we go. You turn the wheel with the ship. It doesn't just turn left. It keeps going straight for like eight miles and then it slowly makes a turn.

Daniel Milnor: 01:06:42 That's what these companies alike and they're lost because they're the mark. The industry's going away. Professional photography industry is disappearing and people are not buying equipment like they once were. And these people are, the companies are a little bit desperate. They're a little bit, you know, crazy trying to figure out what the next trend is. And so that's a hard thing for somebody like a company like Canon to have to over come and somebody is in the same boat like a Fuji where whoever it is, they're all in the same boat. I mean all these people, they're all pandering to Instagram followers and the crazy part is for a company like Canon, I shoot Fuji Company like Fuji. They're going after these Instagram stars. 99.9% of all those images are made with phone. They're not made with food cameras or Canon cameras. That makes no sense whatsoever and instead of slowing down and actually hiring somebody who could make original work that's going to last longer than five minutes online, that would be interesting because there's plenty of people using canon equipment in the world who are doing amazing stuff.

Daniel Milnor: 01:07:39 I was able to do a project a couple of years ago with a guy named Ron [inaudible] who who's a war photographer, documentary guy out of New York City, one of the founders of the seven agency. Ron's canon shooter. Right. Just off the top of my head. Yeah. Let's say that I had x amount of money for budget and I have no idea what his social following is. No idea. I don't care. But that's a guy who's capable. If I had budget to say, Okay Ron, is there something happening in the world that you've always wanted to do that you haven't been able to do and what can we do with it that's completely different, that's going to make people look and think in a different way. That interesting marketing campaigns and me not pandering to his social following thinking that their following is going to be your following. So for me, I'm in a unique spot.

Daniel Milnor: 01:08:20 So in 2010 I decided I did not want to work as a photographer anymore because I had done it for 25 years ago, almost 30 years, and I just wanted to do something else with my life. So it was a Tuesday afternoon. I just deleted my email account and I'm like, I'm done. I'm out. And my wife said, well, what are you going to do? And I said, I'm going to move to New Mexico and I'm going to change my career. And so I was kind of lurking around California still. And my phone rang and it was the founder of blurb, a woman named Eileen Gittens. And um, Eileen said I'd been on blurbs, advisory board going back to like 2007. And she called and said, hey, I heard you're not what's up with the photography thing? And I said, yeah, I'm going to move on, do something else.

Daniel Milnor: 01:09:00 And she said, why don't you work with them? And so what started as kind of an informal part time thing within six months was a full time job. And it's been by far the best job I've ever had in my life. It's been great helping people make books. There's been a lot of travel. I've been able to see the industry from a direction that I would've never been able to see it as a photographer. And I work with photographers, designers, artists, illustrators, educators, all over the world, Australia, Europe, Canada, the u s et Cetera. So it's given me this great perspective. And the other thing it's done is it's allowed me too, when I pick up a camera, only work on the projects that I want to work on. So I don't need to do assignments anymore. I don't have to do shoots, I don't want to do.

Daniel Milnor: 01:09:45 But here's the funny part is the second, this sounds so counterintuitive, but it's important. The second I said, I'm not a photographer anymore. I started doing projects. People would come to me and they'd go, Hey, uh, you want to work with us and do this? And I'm like, how did you even find me? The fact that I had disassociated myself with being labeling myself a photographer almost opened the door because what I realized was more important than the photography was the fact that I was somebody who has ideas, right? I, I read every day. I'm, I try to spend as much time as possible thinking about things. Um, I'm constantly trying to educate myself about things, stuff that I don't know about. I'm reading a book right now about the San Andreas fault and just ironically after the quakes of last week and people were like, why are we reading that book?

Daniel Milnor: 01:10:34 And I'm like, cause I don't know anything about the fall. Nothing. Oh by the way, you know the guy Richter, they're from the Richter scale. You know, he um, apparently never experienced a heavy duty earthquake in his entire life. And after he passed away, he owned a house in Northridge, California. That was then in possession, I believe, of his son, which was filled with all this stuff. And in 94, it burned down in the North Ridge earthquake. So it talks about, I talk about irony, but here's the weird thing is when your knowledge base expands beyond photography, you're suddenly interesting to people far beyond photography. So I was able to do something last year as well, a contract for a creative contract for a, with a, an organization that's in an industry that I know nothing about. And they came to me and said, look, you have interesting ideas.

Daniel Milnor: 01:11:20 You know, we want to hire you for a year and we'll give you a contract. We'll do this and that. And so I did that and I wasn't looking for that. It's not something I particularly wanted to do, but I thought, okay, this is a challenge. And they did not want a photographer, even though I did photographs for them. They want it stuck. Someone who had creative ideas, you know, how do you get this group to talk to this group? And if you're going to get this group to talk to this group, what are you going to make in the middle? Is it a film? Is it a still is it's copies of the magazine, is it a book? Like how's it gonna work? And so I have ideas like that.

Raymond: 01:11:52 W there was so much there to unpack. A what? A what a what a journey. Um, okay. I gotta I gotta no, no, no, no. It's not a mess. It's not a message. Just this whole time that you're talking, I'm thinking, oh, that's a great point. I want to go off of there. That's a great point. I want to go up there. That's a great point. I want to go up there, but at the same time I still have, I still have a few questions that I really wanted to touch on today. One of them was blurb. Um, I know that you're a huge proponent of uh, creating books, especially, you know, not being on Facebook, not sharing your images on Instagram, but having that physical copy there yourself. Um, when you talk to me about, about creating that book, talk to me about that first time I, well I guess I have to rephrase the question because you, you, you, uh, were in the position to have your images printed in a newspaper. So now that maybe people don't have as many images printed in the newspaper, what do you tell people about getting their images printed in a book?

Daniel Milnor: 01:12:59 So a couple of things. 1993 or 94, I made my first trip to New York as a photographer, which at the time is what you did. A lot of people still do that, that New York is where the people with who make decisions are based. It's where the people who have budgets that are based, et Cetera, and so I went and I showed my work to throw agents at the time primarily, and I realized that not a lot of these people, believe it or not, had a loop or light table to look at the time. Your, your portfolio is a single page of 20 slides. Like you throw it down, threw it down on a light table and they looped it and they went through and I was like, God, there has to be a better way to do this. So I went, I left New York, I went back to Phoenix, I went to the newspaper when an incident, the design department, and I said, I think I want to make my own book because that would be way easier to read than this page of slides.

Daniel Milnor: 01:13:50 And they were like, eh, go away. You're an idiot. Takes too long, you don't know what you're doing, blah, blah, blah. So three months later I had my first book, which was not really a book. It was like glorified oversized color copy that was laminated and bound and I made 10 all I could, I could only afford 10 copies. You could do this at Kinko's. Now I'm like five minutes, but was like, oh my God, this is a book. This is great. And so what I did is I took a list of the 10 clients that I really wanted to work for, National Geographic, German, Geo Stern, all these magazines around the world. And I was like, I'm going to send a copy to them. And of course this was snail mail and no announcement, just blindly mailing these things off. And a funny thing happened was they started contacting me, German Geo.

Daniel Milnor: 01:14:35 My phone rang and it was this very heavily accented German accent, female voice. And she's like, you know, we got your portfolio. This is on the believable. How did you do this? What is this? You know? And they were so intrigued by what I had, was able to do. And then the photo editor at the National Geographic at the time I got in Kent Koberstein, he wrote me a hand, like full page handwritten letter saying we've never seen a portfolio like this before. Like how did you do this? And so that's what got my bookmaking on the road was all the way back in 93 so when blurb came along it was sort of a natural progression of that. But the book is very important. And the funny thing is you have, you know, the digital online technology proponents and I think all those things are great. Digital, online and technology are all fine, but there is this a different level of consideration when it comes to print, especially at high levels of the industry because print signifies a couple of things.

Daniel Milnor: 01:15:29 And number one is it signifies concerted thought specific thought about your work because there's a big difference between putting your portfolio on an iPad and putting it into a book form because the book makes you, forces you to apply critical thinking to your work. What's the best image? What's the cover? What's the sequence? What's my ed? Is this good enough to last in this book or is it not good enough? The same thing, what happened back in the day when you go in the dark room, I'd go shoot, I'd worked for a day, I'd come back processed the film and your head, you're like sort of compiling what you have or you don't have and I would mix chemistry. I would get in the dark room. I would take my negative, get it in the enlarger, put it in the enlarger, turn the enlarger on and stand there and stare at this thing and say to myself, is it good enough?

Daniel Milnor: 01:16:18 Is it good enough for me to spend the next three hours making one print of this image if it's not good enough. There were times where I sat there and I go, it's not good enough, and I took it out of the larger, I poured the chemistry back into the bottles and I left because I didn't have something. So the book is a great way to get your head around what you actually have. And the book is confrontational because you have to put your phone down to look at it. So when you go into a meeting with someone and you hand them a book, they're not looking at the book and looking at their phone at the same time. They have to take it. They use both hands, they flip through it, it's tangible, and they're so inexpensive and writing, even if you, even if you did a copy of a book and no one in the world saw it except you, it's totally work that I do it all the time. By the end of day tomorrow I will make the first, I'll print the first test copy of the magazine I created from Albania.

Raymond: 01:17:12 Oh wait, wait. So, so I uh, actually had this on the podcast before. Every year I make a family yearbook, um, uh, of me and my wife and we have two kids. And, uh, before we had children, I quickly realized I am making all these photos and okay, let me step back. When I was growing up, I would go visit my grandma and we would look through those shoe boxes of images and they were great. And then when they were done, they were done. We would put them back and then the next year I'd go back for summer and we'd look through them again. And uh, you know, after getting the, what the iPhone four or whatever, and then, uh, getting into a digital SLR, photography, I'm taking all these photos, but that's only half of the equation. You're never looking at them again. You'll make them, you'll create this image or edit it, whatever.

Raymond: 01:18:03 And then you never look at it again. And I thought to myself, and luckily this was right before we had our first child, uh, Charlie, that I didn't want that to happen. I didn't want that to happen. And Luckily, uh, that is luckily light room has a partnership with blurb to be able to create books. Uh, and that's what I did. And every year since then, I have done so. And I can tell you that one of my favorite memories every single year as time has gone on is the second week of January when we get that book in the mail and then the family sits down, we all sit down together and we look through the book of our previous year. And then that of course sparks, well let's look at all the other books as well. And that to me brings back the joy of photography more so than even taking the photo. Um, because oftentimes you can, you kind of forget, you know, you kinda forget what had happened, especially if it's just a snapshot with a cell phone in the moment. But getting it in print is really, really something special. So I love this message that you are, I love, I love what you're sharing. I love blurbs message to trying to make photography tangible, you know, and just get it in your hands because that is the missing piece of, of photography. Um,

Daniel Milnor: 01:19:17 yeah. Watch what you're doing. Doing an annual book on the family is way more difficult than what I'm doing. And, but what you're doing, the annual with the family is what a lot of people that using blurb are trying to do. And there's a million ways to get derailed. You know, you shoot a lot of photos, you don't know how to, where to store them, you don't know how to tap a log down, can't find them. And so there's a lot of things that keep people from doing this. Um, I think one of the things to toss out the window is the idea of a perfect book. You know, people, I've see them just grind, grind themselves to a halt because, oh, it's gotta be perfect. Gotta be perfect. I don't know what a perfect book is. I've probably never seen on. And if I didn't see on, it's probably going to be really boring.

Daniel Milnor: 01:19:54 So, you know, I'm in Albania and I'm shooting and every night I'm designing, I'm taking the work that I made that day and I'm designing a magazine. So when I left Albania, I had 90 pages of magazine already fairly well thought out. I am changing it around quite a bit now, but by, I sort of gave myself a deadline of this Friday saying I want to have the first test copy and then when I say test copy, it's a test copy. It's not perfect. It's not even remotely close. There's going to be a million things wrong about it. But to see it in print, uh, is a whole different ballgame. It's, to me, print is a, is the great equalizer because again, the online photo community and in many ways there's a lot of people, very successful people in online photo community that have never printed a single photograph.

Daniel Milnor: 01:20:36 And I'm not talking about dark room printing, I'm talking about any kind of printing. And so bookmaking for them is like climbing Mount Everest. They go, Whoa, I don't know how to do that. And I saw it, I saw it in my photo students going back 10 years ago where people would like, I used to teach in Latin America. Every year I would go to Peru and teach a workshop and people would shoot 10,000 images. And I'm like, I had, I had someone shoot 22 gigs one morning shooting one morning, and then I try to edit on an iPad. And I said, why would you shoot 22? Like what could you possibly do that? And for her, for her it was about quantity. You know, she'd been listening to online community. People talk about, you know, well the first 500 Jews of the day doesn't count, you know, because they're never going to count.

Daniel Milnor: 01:21:21 I'm like, who told you this? This is absolute insanity. So I was there, I was in Albania for two weeks. I shot about a thousand pictures total, um, film. Oh, this was all digital, digital. Um, Yup. And uh, I edited the 193 that was the first sort of one-star big chunk. And then that went down to about 50 pictures. And then within the 50, there's about 20. That would be pictures that will sort of be the nucleus of what the project is. But that's in that, you know, I'm not, I don't think any of those were, were, are gonna knock anything in my sort of top 20 lifetime work out of the way. The trip really wasn't about that, but it was fun.

Raymond: 01:22:04 Yeah, it's a jigsaw puzzle I would imagine. I would imagine. Um, I feel like I could sit here and talk to you for another two hours or so, but, um, I, I really do want to be, um, conscious of your time. You've shared so much with me, Daniel. My next question is how can people find you online? Obviously you're not going to say Facebook or Instagram, so where, where would you like people to find out more about you?

Daniel Milnor: 01:22:33 The easiest way to find me online is a website called shifter, s, h. I, f, t, e, r, and it's dot media, not.com shifted or.media that has like the audio interviews that I do. It has, there's one tab of photography which rarely ever changes cause I'm lazy. It has a creative tab that talks about books, other people's photography, other people's books. I have an adventure tab that talks about cycling, hiking, fishing, climbing, et Cetera, which I do a lot of. And there's a tab about yoga, which I'm a big fan of and, and also to have about Lyme disease, which I got six years ago. And there's a global community of people that are all suffering from the same thing. There's a lot of stuff on there, probably more than anyone wants to see, but there is some good photography stuff from time to time.

Raymond: 01:23:19 I love it. I'm going to go check that out right away as well. A, I will put the links or the link to that in the, in the show notes. So if anybody's interested in just whatever podcast app you're listening on, just swipe up and you'll be able to see some of Dane's, uh, images as well as links there. But, uh, Dan, again, thank you so much for, for coming on and sharing just a piece of the knowledge that you have accumulated over the past 30 years of, uh, of, of, of being a photographer. I, I've really enjoyed my time with you today. So again, thank you so much for coming on.

Daniel Milnor: 01:23:49 Absolutely. Thanks for happen. And I hope that somebody, uh, actually gets something from my weird views

Raymond: 01:23:57 if, if anybody did, it was me as well. But I know, I know that. Plenty of that as well. Uh, uh, too. So again, uh, thank you so much.

Daniel Milnor: 01:24:05 Yup. Absolutely. Thank you.

Raymond: 01:24:07 Wow. I got to tell you, that was honestly one of my favorite episodes that, uh, were interviews rather than I have ever had the pleasure of hosting. Dan was a fantastic guest with so much to share. Um, my biggest takeaway from this interview was absolutely just how much more connected, uh, Dan came after he, uh, got off social media. Now there is, here's the thing, there's a lot of, um, talk or suggestions or blog posts out there that, you know, say, you know, we should get off social media. We should get off social media, we should get off social media or that it's, you know, ruining society. And I get that. Right. But then there's also a lot of people who make all of their money from social media, right. I the majority of my money through social media, through finding, um, clients, bride specifically as for me, Facebook just makes it, uh, the easiest platform and the cheapest, uh, to be able to do so.

Raymond: 01:25:09 So, um, while I, uh, you know, would love to cut out social media from my life completely, and I loved hearing Dan's take, I don't want everybody to think that the, you have to go out and, and get rid of it, you know. Um, but being more intentional about how you use social media, about how much time you're on social media, I don't think, I don't think that it would hurt. You know what I mean? I don't, I don't think that spending less time on Facebook or Instagram is really going to hurt your business because, uh, even if you do use social media for business like myself, you know, that's not all that you use it for. You go on there, you read dumb articles, you watch dumb videos and you waste a lot of time and, you know, ultimately do think about it a lot.

Raymond: 01:26:03 So, um, I really appreciate, uh, Dan coming on and sharing his, uh, view and I envied the ability to be able to just go completely off the grid and not worry about status updates of people who I knew, you know, in high school, you know, 13 years ago. So, um, I thought that it was just fantastic. I thought that it was an absolutely fantastic interview and I hope that you got a lot out of it as well. So, uh, I know that this was a long one today, so I'm gonna cut this outro short. Um, I would love to know what your biggest takeaway was from this episode. Please feel free to share it in the beginner photography podcast, Facebook group, and that's it. I will see it there and uh, we can continue the discussion. So that is it for this week. Until next time where I have some really exciting things, I will be sharing a, I want you to get out. I want you to keep shooting, I want you to stay safe and most importantly for this year, I really want you to focus on yourself. So that is it. I'll see you next time. We'll love you all.

outro: 01:27:11 If you enjoy today's podcast, please leave us a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast player and continue the conversation with Raymond and other listeners of the podcast by joining the beginner photography podcast Facebook group today. Thank you. We'll see you again next week.

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BPP 160: Aaron Nace - Mobile Editing 101

Aaron Nace is the host of Phlearn the educational website and amazing youtube channel focused on photography and post production with Lightroom and Photoshop Tutorials. In this interview we talk all about editing with all the options available for mobile!

Become A Premium Member is access to more in-depth questions that help move you forward!

In This Episode You'll Learn:

  • How Aaron got started in Photography and Photoshop Tutorials

  • What a post production artist does and why Aaron considers himself equally a photographer

  • The difference between lightroom and photoshop

  • Why you should be editing on mobile

  • What apps to use to edit photos on your phone

  • The downsides of editing on mobile in 2019

  • What you should do to your boring photos before uploading them to facebook

  • and How to know when youre done editing

Premium Members Also Learn:

  • How new working photographers can improve their workflow

  • How to use mobile editing to your advantage with clients

  • The best way to manage client expectations

  • How to find the balance between perfection and progress to not waste time

Resources:

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    Full Interview Transcription:

    Disclaimer: The transcript was transcribed electronically and may contain errors that do not reflect accurately what the speaker said. Because of this, please do not quote this automated transcript.

    Raymond Hatfield: 00:00 Welcome to the beginner of photography podcast, where today we're learning the ins and outs of editing on the go. Let's get into it.

    Intro: 00:09 Welcome to the beginner photography podcast with Raymond Hatfield, the podcast dedicated to helping you grow your photography skills. Raymon interviews the world's top photographers in their field to ask questions that will get you taking better photos today. Now with you as always, husband, father, Ho brewer, La Dodger Fan, an Indianapolis wedding photographer, Raymond Hatfield.

    Raymond: 00:37 Welcome back to this episode of the beginner photography podcast. Thank you so much for joining me today. I am Raymond Hatfield and today we have a much requested interview about editing that I cannot wait to dive into, but first I want to give a shout out to Leah for leaving the podcast, a five star iTunes review. She said I get valuable information out of each and every episode. I enjoy the interviews and this is the only podcast I am a patron of and it is well worth it. Leah, you are way too kind. Thank you so much for your review. As Leah mentioned, she is a patron of the podcast, which means that each week she gets an extra extended interview where that week's guest shares information specifically related to the business and making money with your camera. If you want to start making money with your camera, do like Leah and considering becoming a patron by heading over to beginner photography, podcast.com and clicking the premium membership button at the top.

    Raymond: 01:40 In today's interview, premium members will hear how to improve your workflow to save time and get your clients their photos faster. How mobile editing can give you an advantage over your competition, how to manage client expectations. And honestly a what Aaron shares here is massive and caused me to reexamine how I conduct my business. And lastly, how to handle progress over progression to get things done fast. So if you want to know the answers to these questions, become a patron by heading over to begin photography podcast.com and clicking the premium membership button now. So let's get into this week's interview with Aaron Nace, and if the name isn't familiar, he is the founder of PHLEARN the Photoshop and Lightroom education website and super popular youtube channel that has helped me on more than one occasion and be sure to stick around to the end where after the interview where Aaron gives me something special to share just with you, the listeners of the beginner photography podcast. So without any further ado, let's get into this week's interview with Aaron Nace. Today's guest is Aaron Nace, the host of PHLEARN the educational website and amazing youtube channel focused on photography and post

    production. Today we're going to be talking all editing and all of the options that we have available now for mobile. So Aaron, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

    Aaron Nace: 03:05 Yeah. So great to be here. Excited to talk about all the fun things we can do with editing our images.

    Raymond: 03:10 It's, that's one of those things that, uh, it's crazy. The, the, the amount of, um, just the, the scope of the world that editing is, uh, how many different nuances there is that comes within editing is, uh, sometimes it causes me to have a headache. So I'm excited to be talking to an expert and, uh, and really getting into, uh, editing and what it can do for our photos. But before we do that, can you share a, how you got into photography slash when you started focusing on post production?

    Aaron Nace: 03:43 Yeah, for sure. So my background in Photoshop actually came first. Uh, I am traditionally trained as a designer. I went to school for product design and got out of school and was doing a lot of like three dimensional product designing things like cars and you know, tools and, and things like that. And so we had a lot of work to do with actually like visual rendering and creating competition. And this was more like using Photoshop as a piece of paper, you know, using layers for like basically if you want to like design a car, you have to draw it first, right? And then you have to like see how it looks in different dimensions and things like that. So I would do all that in Photoshop using a tablet or like a, a pressure sensitive screen. So that's where my background in Photoshop, uh, started and photography actually came to me a little bit later down the line.

    Aaron Nace: 04:36 And I was taking the trip after graduating from university and just fell in love with photography through the fact that I had a camera with me. I was going to a lot of really interesting places and I was like, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I got to capture everything that I can and kind of fell in love with photography during that process. So when I got back I realized, Hey, I can take my love of Photoshop that I'd been working on for years. And combining that with my new love, with typography and really creating things that are just like kind of out of this world. So my background in the photography side of things is mostly conceptual and fine art photography. So doing things like making people levitate in the air or you know, making a person as big as a house and, and doing this and trying to make it look 100% real, not look like it was Photoshop, just make it look like a photograph. And that's kind of what drove my passion to, to create through both photography and Photoshop.

    Raymond: 05:35 So when, when you first kind of made that connection in your head like, Hey, I've got these photos, I can turn these into something, you know. Fantastic. Um, what was the goal for kind of where you are today? How did, how did that progress into end of this kind of education powerhouse? Uh, that it is?

    Aaron Nace: 05:52 No, it was all just for fun. In the beginning I was just doing like I had, I had these ideas in my head and I just wanted to see if I could pull it off, you know, can I, can I do this? Uh, I, it was just a hobby. I had a full time job at the time and it was just a way for me to get my creativity out there and kind of give myself a little bit of a challenge and I suppose do my work online. And the comments just started pouring in like, this is cool. How did you do this? How did you do this? And I realized there was a big gap in the marketplace. There were a lot of people teaching how to do these techniques. And so I started teaching people individually just one-on-one through like Skype sessions and hold ma'am.

    Aaron Nace: 06:34 Yeah, yeah. It was just like, uh, you know, very natural progression and I had such a good time and you know, the, the response was really great. So it was pretty much immediately obvious that there was a need there. And I started releasing videos for free on youtube. This was back in, Oh boy, this almost 10 years ago now. And you

    know, almost from the beginning we had a really, really great response. So that was to me, just again, not necessarily like a business, it was more just something I was doing fun or we didn't give back to the community and it kind of turned into a natural business when I realized, you know, not only people were interested in short snippets on Youtube, but they wanted longer, more in depth, like more difficult topics. They really wanted to master this stuff. And that's when I founded flirt.com and, uh, we fast forward today, we actually have a subscription service where you can pay, it's kind of like Netflix, you just pay a monthly fee and then you get access to everything. So, uh, that's basically the whole thing in a nutshell.

    Raymond: 07:40 Yeah, that's insane. What a, what a great journey. That's crazy that it took 10 years. You know, when you think of kind of like online and uh, uh, you just have this idea that things happen fast, fast, fast, but it's a, it's great to hear that you, you know, you stuck with this for, uh, for so long and here you are today. So, uh, I kind of want to know a little bit more about you and kind of what, aside from obviously founding flirt, would you call yourself like a post production artist? Is there a different title that you would have for your, for the, for the job that you're teaching, I suppose?

    Aaron Nace: 08:13 Yeah, for sure. So I would say as far as my art is concerned, I would consider herself myself more of a photographer than a post production artists. Uh, I use post production as a tool. So the way I kind of see Photoshop and, and any type of editing tool, it's just, it's, it's another skill set. It's another tool that you can use to create the artists that you want to create. So, you know, we're getting out there. A camera is just a tool to interpret how you see the world. You know, if you decide maybe you're going to photograph people in a studio setting, you can bring in lighting and you can do backgrounds and you can use props and those are all just tools as well. And then when you get to the computer, you have different programs that serves as different tools as well.

    Aaron Nace: 08:56 So it kind of all starts with an initial vision of what do I want this end product to look like? And then gathering the tools that are necessary to create that end product. So for my personal work, I do all of my own photography. It's all purpose driven. And then Photoshop is a tool that I use to bring those concepts that I photograph together. So, uh, both as a photographer and as like, I guess a digital artist. Um, but my primary passion in teaching that's, you know, that's what I'm all about. Like how can I, how can I get this information to as many people as possible?

    Raymond: 09:31 Yeah, no, for sure. For sure. Um, so when it comes to, uh, the editing side of things, you mentioned Photoshop there. Uh, there's a lot of photographers, especially in the beginning photography podcast, Facebook group who um, maybe aren't at that level yet where they understand the difference truly between light room and Photoshop. So before we actually go any further, can you just settle once and for all, what is the difference between Photoshop and Lightroom and which is the right choice for who?

    Aaron Nace: 10:00 Yeah, so Lightroom is kind of like step one in Photoshop is step two. So if you, if you're at zero right now, if you're not doing anything, start with lightroom and start with step one. The things that you can do in lightroom are make your image brighter or darker. Let's say you know, you've overexposed your image or you've underexposed your image or maybe not even your whole image. Maybe your subject looks good but the sky is too bright. That's the sort of thing that you can fix in light room. Maybe you have a lot of distortion from your lens or the colors aren't exactly like what you wanted. Maybe your white balance is off. In other words, your photo came out a little too blue or a little too yellow. That's the sort of thing that you can fix in light and it's an incredibly powerful program.

    Aaron Nace: 10:42 It can do quite a bit of work, just improving a photo as a whole. Now step two is Photoshop and this is where we get into a little bit more advanced techniques.

    Things like retouching, taking a a portrait and you know, removing blemishes, doing advanced techniques to make the skin look a little bit smoother and a little bit cleaner. Also, things like compositing, you know, if I want to take an image of a person in this location and put them in a different location, I can use Photoshop to do that sort of thing. So I would say, you know, I use the same step one, step two with my own work as well. When I take photographs, I first bring them into light room and get them to look as good as I possibly can. Enlightening. And then from Lightroom, I go into Photoshop and take the next steps. So it's a step one step two process.

    Raymond: 11:38 Gotcha. So it's not like if you're a beginner to start with light room. If you're a professional, you only use Photoshop. It's you use both in tandem, but that's the order in which you, you go through editing your photos.

    Aaron Nace: 11:49 Yeah. Yeah. Most definitely. And you want to start with light, no matter where you are in the process. If you've never used any photo editing software, you want to start with light room or if you're a professional, you still want to start with lightroom. So it's, it's the great first step after getting your images on your computer.

    Raymond: 12:06 Yeah. I've, I, I've been asked before. Yeah. As you can imagine, there's a lot of confusion between the two, for new photographers, kind of what, what do I use? And obviously the answer is both. Um, but I think as a wedding photographer, I would, I'd, I'd say that I use Lightroom probably 98% of my work and then the remaining 2%, uh, like you said, the retouching is done there. They're in Photoshop. So I can totally see how there's, there's the use there for, for, for both of them. But when it comes to Photoshop, I want to talk, I really want to kind of get into this, right? Because the Photoshop is more of the manipulation, you know, within a photos on your phone, you know, on, on your iPhone, you can change the exposure, you can change the contrast and these things are simple and they're built in, but you can't, um, add a son or you can't add anything or truly manipulate an image without, uh, kind of taking the next step, I guess. Uh, we'll just continue with that analogy by going into extra, uh, apps or whatever. So, um, before we really talk about the manipulation side of it, can you kind of share with me what are some, um, tools, uh, for mobile that are, uh, specifically, I totally phrase this question wrong. This is a bad question. What, what would you suggest are some tools that beginners can use, uh, on their phone to, to get started with, with manipulating their photos past, uh, just simple exposure adjustments,

    Aaron Nace: 13:34 right. So I'm actually light room for mobile is a really fantastic program. Uh, so recently Adobe came out with a new software suite. It's, you know, it's a replacement for lightroom classic, which technically they haven't phased out lightroom classic, we that's still available. But there's a new program called light room. It's for your computer, but you can also use it on your phone and on a tablet. And the editing capabilities in that program are really fantastic. So you can really go beyond just making your photo lighter or darker. For instance, there is selective editing in that program where you can, you know, grab a gradient and drag, you know, just affect your sky. So you could have your sky be a little bit more blue, a little bit more vibrant. You can select individual colors and make those, you know, maybe you want the Greens to be a little bit more saturated or you've took a photo and you know, like the background might be a little bit distracting.

    Aaron Nace: 14:34 You can kind of lower the contrast and the background to make your subject stand out. So you can do all those things in Lightroom for mobile. And the best part about that is that program's free. So it's very easily accessible. You don't have to load in, you know, professional, raw images. You can load them images that you've taken right from your camera and edit those right on, on your mobile device. But if you do load images in from your camera, you can work on your raw images on your mobile device as well, which I think is just insanely powerful. And the editing capabilities within that program are really very, very

    good. So I think anyone who has used Lightroom classic in the past is going to have no problem with the transition to light room mobile. So that's really like my, my main, um, you know, my main program when I'm editing on my phone.

    Aaron Nace: 15:27 Uh, now Photoshop, uh, is in the process. They're releasing Photoshop for the iPad, uh, relatively soon. I know they announced it with the iPad. Uh, there's a Beta version out, uh, which I've had the opportunity to test and it's going to be a fantastic program for taking that next step on mobile devices. Uh, and then, you know, we'll see the iPad version come out in a couple of months and then further down the road, uh, there's a good chance we're going to see a mobile version for that. I've had as well. It basically, it's, it's, uh, you know, we're kind of waiting on hardware to catch up with the software, but, um, I've had the opportunity to use some of the newer tablets, like the iPad pro and I got to say the hardware on that thing is just, it's mind boggling. It's, you know, a tablet that's as powerful as a, as a modern computer. So I, as we see mobile devices take more of the marketplace and become better computers, uh, we're going to see software that improves to be able to match the computing capabilities of those devices as well.

    Raymond: 16:34 Yeah, yeah. It's, uh, I remember, I remember the, the, the day that the iPad was announced, like the original iPad, I looked at my, uh, my girlfriend at the time who's now my wife, and I said, I was like, one day I'm not even going to need a computer. Like, I cannot wait to just like be able to edit an entire wedding on the iPad. Like on the way home from the, uh, in my testimony, my self driving Tesla, you have to drive. I can just set it by the time I get home, uh, the wedding's done and I can deliver it. It's going to be fantastic. I think that now, even though it's, uh, it's almost 10 years later, um, we're, we're starting to get to that point and it's, it's really exciting. But with that said, even though that we're almost 10 years in, mobile editing is still very new. It's kind of a bit of a wild west. You know, we're desktop editing is, it's pretty polished. We've been doing this for a long time. So why would anybody even want to edit on mobile today?

    Aaron Nace: 17:27 Well, I got to say, you know, that that dream scenario you had where you can edit your entire wedding on your iPad. I believe 100% that, that's here now, we're already in that stage. And I, again, if you have the right technology in your hands. So, uh, I picked up, you know, the new iPad pro 0.9 inch, uh, because I'm going to be doing some workshops using this as a mobile editing device and I was a little skeptical. Like is this all it's cracked up to be like is this software, there is a hardware there and I got to say it's there, like we are in that time. Uh, they're doing a really nice job with the software releases that are coming out soon. Soon you're going to be able to plug in your SD card directly into your iPad by a little, you know, Dongle accessory or whatever they call them.

    Aaron Nace: 18:19 Uh, so that day is, is very much here, uh, anything on your mobile device honestly, because light room for instance is, is cloud based software. And what that means is any edit that you make on one device, you know, uploads to the Internet. So when you look at it on another device, the change is already there. It's syncs across all your devices automatically. And for that reason you and why I believe it's an actual viable tool now is a bit, you don't have to do any of your work twice. You do your work on some of it on your computer, pick up your iPad and the work you did on your computer is automatically applied on your iPad. You put down your iPad, pick up your phone and the work you did there is automatically applied on your phone. So you're never doing multiple edits of the same image.

    Aaron Nace: 19:10 It's all of it is sinked at the same time. So it's really just whatever device you have. And for me, I carry an iPad with me just about wherever I go. So if I have an extra 20 or 30 minutes where I'm just kind of hanging out at a coffee shop, like why not do some editing? They're like, the tools are there and if you have the device with you, you know it's hard to predict when you're going to have extra time. And you know, I find myself having

    extra time just in the randomness of cases. And sometimes I'm just like sitting in my car for 20 minutes, like waiting for a friend to go grab a coffee and come back to the car or whatever. And if like if I can grab my iPad there and edit your photos, like, you know, in a professional capacity and not have to Redo that and I, well that's 20 minutes that I would otherwise just be like sitting on my phone browsing Instagram or just like totally my thumbs and that's an extra 20 minutes that I've saved and working at home.

    Aaron Nace: 20:09 So I think these mobile devices, it's not like, Hey, now I'm only going to edit on this mobile device. But the deal is most people have a mobile device with them at all times. Right? Like I've got my phone with me at all time, I have an iPad with me a lot of the time and if I can get this editing done when I'm, you know, in random situations and having just like a, I'm in bed right now, you know, I'm not quite tired. I want to stay up for another 20 minutes, I'll flip through my images and I'll make some edits there. Perfect. And then tomorrow when you open up your laptop, those edits are automatically there. That's, that's where I think mobile editing really has its place nowadays.

    Raymond: 20:51 So, uh, I kind of guess where I get 'em caught up is sort of the, uh, and we don't have to go too in depth in this, but it's more of like the file management side of things because, uh, if I, you know, if I'm on my way home from a wedding and I'm loading 150 gigs worth of raw photos on my iPad to then, you know, then the next day when I wake up to start editing, it's, it has to upload all those photos from the iPad to the Adobe cloud and then back onto my computer. And then I gotta figure out what to do with those. Uh, so I could see how in a sense of like I have an idea for a, a conceptual photo or fine art photo and this is only going to take five raws rather than 5,000 where this makes sense today.

    Raymond: 21:38 So if we're in that situation where we have this idea, because oftentimes photographers kind of get overwhelmed by editing tools like Photoshop because they just don't know what they want to do, right? Like me in particular, I go out and I shoot photos of my kids all the time. So I bring those photos into Photoshop and I have no idea what to do with these photos. And yet then I see a photo of a, you know, like a New York skyline and then somehow a waterfall is added to it to becoming through the buildings. You know. So to be able to create a photo like this deal, you need to know what you need when you go out shooting, uh, before you edit it. Or can you just bring in any old photo and create something out of your imagination?

    Aaron Nace: 22:26 I think you have a much better chance of creating a good final product if you have a clear idea from the beginning. So for me, when I'm, when I have an idea about an image that I want to pull off, it's I spend a great deal of time in the early stages, pre production, thinking about this idea, what's the story that I want to tell? Like how am I going to tell this story? And if I'm going to need to capture multiple images and combine them together later on, how am I going to, how am I going to capture these images in a way that they're going to wind up looking realistic so that that planning and the preparation stage, it's, it's not always the most exciting, but it really does help you end up with a better final product. And you touched on something that's really important.

    Aaron Nace: 23:15 Uh, you know, not knowing what you want to do in Photoshop. I think we've all gone through that, but kind of like the way I use it, an analogy like in the kitchen, right? Like, you know, if you go in the kitchen and you're like, I'm going to make food and then you just like, but what food am I going to make? You know, like you're never, you're not going to get anywhere. You know what I mean? But if you're like, you know what, tonight I'm going to make chicken Tikka Masala. And then you look up a recipe for chicken Tikka Masala and you go to the store and you get all your ingredients and you come back and you follow the recipe. At the end of the Diet, you're going to have chicken Tikka Masala. It might not be them best you've ever had in your life, but you're going to wind up with something.

    Aaron Nace: 23:57 And that's a very different situation than just like staring into your refrigerator and you know, hoping something appears. So opening it every five minutes, like, is there something, is there something new in there now? Like what's the deal? What's come on? Uh, I've been in, you know, I'm a avid cook. I love cooking. And I've had those moments so many times where it's just like, there's nothing here in the, in the kitchen for me there. There's no meal. Um, but the deal was I didn't have a vision of something I wanted to make and I didn't get the ingredients of, you know, of this thing. So starting out with an end product in your mind will help you get there. If you don't have an end product in mind, well you're really not gonna get anywhere at all.

    Raymond: 24:45 Yeah. That's, that's, that's a great point. That is a great point. And that's a really good analogy too. I didn't think about that. So, so then, uh, at some point we have to, in that scenario, we have to know what chicken, uh, uh, Tikka Masala is, right? We have to know what that is. Or it could be cereal and milk, right? Either way, you're gonna need your cereal and you're to need your milk, right? Right. But if, if you want to go out and you want to, um, try something new, something that you've never made before, you know, you don't know what the kitchen is, is possible of, you know what, this is getting wasted.

    Aaron Nace: 25:23 No worries. But like the whole thing is, you know, when you're, when you're looking for something you want to create, just like we have with food, right? Like there are restaurants out there that serve delicious food where you could go try something and be like, you know what? I like this food. I didn't realize I like this food, but I kinda like that. I want to see if I can make it on my own. We've got the same thing with Instagram, you know, browsing images and saying like, you know what? I really like this photograph. I want to see if I can make something similar. You know, I don't want to copy it, but what do I like about this photograph? Maybe I really liked the lighting or maybe I like the way that, you know, this person was captured. I really feel like I can get to know them. Maybe I want to try to retreat that with my next photo. So having all these tools and inspiration allows us to kind of build a little bit of a reference point to where we can say, okay, cool. That's what I want to do now. Let's go ahead and try to get that done. Okay.

    Raymond: 26:19 I Dunno if ended up past life you learned how to read minds, but he just did it to me perfectly and you got the answer that I was looking for. Terrible, terrible questions.

    Aaron Nace: 26:29 So I was like, yeah, yeah, yeah. Let's, yeah, I think, I think we can pull him together.

    Raymond: 26:37 Uh, and so I, I kind of want to know a little bit about, um, this is kind of the next step, right? You get started, uh, you start wandering into, um, editing at, you know, maybe you're charging for your work photographers who are just starting to charge for their work. What is something that they can do, uh, perhaps with mobile to improve their workflow?

    Speaker 4: 27:00 Hey, Raymond here. And if you're listening to this, you are listening to the free version of today's interview. If you want to hear more from today's guest about the business of photography, consider becoming a premium member every week. Guests answer questions about products, pricing packages, and so much more that will help your growing photography business thrive. This is the next logical step to join head over to beginning photography, podcast.com and click the premium membership button at the top of the page.

    Raymond: 27:30 I love it. Um, I just had so many ideas there running through my head about how even myself could kind of improve how I, how I communicate with that with clients. So I got some work after this.

    Aaron Nace: 27:43 Well, it's like you go to a restaurant, right? And you order something, you know, like you have a certain expectation of what you're going to get when you order something. You know, if you weren't a hamburger and you get a chicken sandwich, you're going to be like, uh, I ordered a hamburger. Like, you know, and there'd be like, well, chick is kind of like hamburgers, you know, that's, you know, we have an expectation, but if you go in and you're like, I order a hamburger and the, you know, your server is like, oh, you know what, we're actually out of hamburgers but we do have chicken sandwich. If you want that, then you can decide, okay, chicken sandwich would be cool if that way when you get the chicken sandwich it's like, Yup, this is what we agreed upon. Yeah, exactly. So it's all about managing those expectations.

    Raymond: 28:26 segue by the way.

    Aaron Nace: 28:32

    Raymond: 28:32
    my iPad continues to, uh, get me excited. It was specifically for wedding photography. I know that it's like we talked about, it's easier for, um, conceptual photography or smaller, smaller batches of images. Um, but, uh, this idea continues to get me excited and for some reason I keep buying the newest iPad because I, I keep thinking that there's something in that iPad that is going to let me, you know, uh, get to that next step. But I keep finding downsides, whatever it is. So I want to know from your point of view, what are some of the downsides to editing on a mobile device here in 2019?

    Aaron Nace: 29:13 Well, you know, what are the deals with a light room for mobile? For instance, if it is a cloud based, you know, software, so all of your images are being uploaded to the Internet. So if you're on a really slow connection that's just gonna take a little bit of time. And like you said, sometimes you're coming back from a shoot with 150 gigabytes. Well, you know, that's a lot of information to upload the Internet. And if you're not working on a fast connection, it's going to take a long time, then that might be a little bit frustrating for you. Not to mention that that cloud storage isn't free. You know, anytime you upload something on the Internet, someone's paying for it, right? It's mainly younger. Yeah. I mean it depends, right? When you upload your images to Instagram, you're not paying for it. But guess what?

    Aaron Nace: 30:05 The company that owns Instagram, Facebook, they're paying for that storage, right? That image is on a server somewhere and they're paying for that. So there's a funny little quote like if you're not paying for a service, then like you are the service or you are the product. And like when it comes to Instagram, the reason you don't have to pay to upload your images to Instagram is because they're serving you ads. They're making money off of you being on there. But let's say you have another like cloud storage platform where you want to backup your images, chances are you're going to have to pay for that. So the same is true with Lightroom. For mobile lightroom desktop, you hit a certain amount of information that's included with your monthly plan. But if you want to start, start uploading 150 gigabytes, you know, per session, you're going to wind up paying a larger and larger monthly rate to store that much image, uh, to store that many images on the cloud.

    Aaron Nace: 30:58 So I would say if you're in that position, it may not make sense to upload every single photo to the cloud directly. It might make a little bit more sense to get your images on your computer first. Go ahead and call out the images that you're like not going to

    so speaking of managing expectations, this is a very terrible

    Yeah.

    Um, thinking about like the idea to be able to edit everything on

    use. Cause out of 150 gigs, there's a good chance that some of those are just throwaways, right? Like all of them are perfect. Right? Yeah. And of course, like, you know, we, we want to take as many images as we can, but you know, just the image, it's like grossly underexposed or like, oops, I forgot I took a picture of the ground on accident. You know, get rid of those first before you put those on the cloud. Uh, so that's a potential thing that we want to look at too, especially if we're working with a lot of files.

    Aaron Nace: 31:44 Um, you know, and then really just bandwidth. You know, when you're working on your images on your computer and they're on a local hard drive, fantastic. You know, that connection between your hard drive and you computers likely very fast. But if you are in a slower, uh, you know, a slower network situation, it might be a little bit of a slower bandwidth. You know, I got to say though to that, what could be seen as a con on the exact opposite side of that, all of your images are now backed up permanently on the cloud. So let's say your computer did have a failure or someone for, you know, stole your computer or your hard drive crashed your whatever. Well, all of your images by using one of these cloud based servers are already on the cloud. So it's not only is it a way to edit wherever you are, but it's also an instant backup solution. So it's, it has like, you know, very positive side of it as well. It kind of takes all of your image backup, uh, and it does pretty much automatically.

    Raymond: 32:48 Yeah. Yeah. So one of the things that I run into when it comes to editing is I'm, uh, when I edit on a computer, the, the monitor is calibrated. I have the light in here dialed in right where I need it so that every time I edit, it's a very consistent experience so that I'm editing the exact same way every single time. With mobile. I could be on my couch or the lighting is entirely different. Maybe there's a window right in front of me, and that's kind of skewing how I see the image itself, which can affect how the image gets edited. Um, now I know that apple at least has put in things like, uh, is it true tone or whatever that, that calibrates the monitor itself. But aside from that, uh, is there any way that we can kind of get around that just so that we can ensure that we have a more consistent, uh, edit so that when we posted online, it, it looks as though it looks the same way it did on, uh, on our mobile device.

    Aaron Nace: 33:48 I would say, you know, if you are concerned about color to that degree, I would do all of, you know, the majority of your editing on your mobile device, on your iPad, whatever, when you're out and about, I mean, do it on your computer. Well just do it on whatever device you have with you. But then when it comes time to send those images off, get in your environment that you know is dialed in and just do a quick look through and you'll be able to see, okay, are these up to my standards of where they should be? And if they aren't, you can do a little quick tweak before their, so it totally depends. You know, not everyone has an environment like you do where the lighting is perfectly dialed in and they've got a calibrated monitor and that's totally okay too. But you know, if you're a person who does care about having your colors exactly, you know, render perfectly and you have one of these environments, then I would just say make that the last step in your chain before you upload them to the Internet.

    Raymond: 34:46 Okay. Good tip. Good tip. One thing I see a lot is, um, whenever I scroll through, Facebook is just really boring. Cell phone photos from my family and friends that just, just very boring. There's nothing to it, you know, straight out of camera. They took the shot, uploaded it directly to Facebook. What are some things that everybody listening could be or should be doing to their photos to prevent them from posting boring, boring shots?

    Aaron Nace: 35:13 Well, I think, you know, part of that is, uh, depends on the, the desire of the person taking those pictures too, right? Like, oh, sure, yeah. I get

    Raymond: 35:22 my, my aunt, uh, a free pass because you know, she doesn't understand but, but I'm assuming that for those listening, uh, they're obviously have some sort of interest in photography and they don't want their photos just to blend in with everybody else. What are some, what are some things that, what are just some, uh, simple beginner things that we should be doing to our photos, uh, to make them stand out just a little bit more?

    Aaron Nace: 35:42 Right. Well, I think even a lot of that can be done with the photography side a bit as well. So, you know, capturing things from new angles that might be just a little bit more interesting. Um, maybe bring your phone a little bit lower to the ground or getting a little bit higher. You know, uh, these angle changes can make a huge, huge difference in the perception of a photo. You know what, when we look at photos of the paths that have caught our interest, you know, we're talking about photos that are 50 or 60 years old and the technology that those images were, you know, like 50 or 60 year old camera is dinosaur in terms of technology compared to what you have on your smartphone. So the technology there is already really good. So, you know, using the techniques that people have used for hundreds of years to create great images, those techniques will continue to make your images stand out.

    Aaron Nace: 36:40 So, uh, you know, finding out what's interesting about an image and then framing your photograph to focused on that interesting part of it. You know, one thing that draws me into photographs a lot of the time is I want to feel like I'm getting to know the person in that photograph a little bit more. I want, I want a little bit of a sense of story, like what's going on here, what I want to be pulled into this image and I want to be asking more questions like I want, you know what I mean? It's like you take a bite of a hamburger and it's like, I want more of this, right? Like, Ooh, there's something interesting here. I want, I want even more of that. And that's what I want to see with photography. That to me is what makes it photograph interesting. So you know, photographs where everyone's looking at the camera and smiling.

    Aaron Nace: 37:32 Totally good. Those have their purposes. Those have, you know, their uses. But those don't usually tell me a lot of a story. It doesn't pull me in and it doesn't have any asking what's next, what's more, what happened before this? What's gonna Happen after this? So definitely take those images where you're, you know, everyone's smiling and looking at the camera, but then also take those images where maybe you're getting up close and personal and, and taking pictures of people in the moment or maybe they're don't even know you're taking those pictures. So a little bit more of a candid style of photography and trying to get those reactions. You know, if a person is laughing or you know, like having like, uh, you know, an organic emotion that if you can capture that sort of thing, it's just going to be a little bit more interesting in general.

    Aaron Nace: 38:20 And I think that we can go with our guts as far as like what's interesting to us to look at in person. Like, you know, if I'm looking at a bunch of people smiling, looking at me, that's not that interesting, right? That's not, it's just, you know, but if I'm looking at someone like working on an engaging task and maybe they're frustrated or maybe they're like crazy excited because they just like did something new for the first time, like that just officially is more interesting to look at just as a person. So just using your eyes first as your camera and like, is this interesting or not? And if it is, that's a good time to bring out of camera. And if it's not well maybe change something up. Maybe wait a few minutes till something is interesting. One thing that I like to do is if I am taking a picture of someone who's like, you know, quote unquote posing for the camera or a little bit like doesn't want to have their picture taken, I'll take a couple of those pictures and then I'll say, okay, done. And then I'll take a couple more when they think that we're done. But they like relax, they become themselves and then like maybe they'll like laugh in a genuine way cause they're not posing for the camera anymore because I think that I'm done taking the pictures and then those kept pictures a lot of

    the time. Or like the golden gems where it's like that's them for real after they think the posting is done.

    Raymond: 39:40 That is a great tip. That is a great tip. I think everybody's always looking for how to get more genuine photos while in a post and a, if anybody follows that, that's, I don't see how it couldn't work. I, it's funny, I interviewed, um, I believe it was, oh, I interviewed Kevin Mullins, who's a, who's a documentary wedding photographer from the UK a few weeks ago. I'm trying to remember. A few years ago, I watched a video that was all about documentary wedding photography. I can't remember if it was Kevin Mullins or if it was actually Zach areas, but regardless of the tip was, um, when he wants to take a photo of somebody, he'll go up to them, um, to, to make sure that they're not, you know, like Kimra aware or whatever. Um, and then he will, uh, take their picture. They're gonna look at them, no way. You know, I just screwed the whole thing up.

    Raymond: 40:27 But there was something to the effect of like looking down, no, like looking up. Oh yeah, that was it. Okay, here we go. Let me start again. He walks up to them. Uh, he'll like take a picture. He'll make it look like he's taking a picture of the sky so that the people don't care. They don't think that he's looking at them and then he'll point the camera at them and make it appear as if he's looking at the photo that he just took. Now these people are, you know, they're not aware of the photo being taken to them, completely relaxing for the camera. That's when he takes the shot. And uh, it just getting that, that kind of natural reaction, which is a, uh, what you were just sharing there. And that was a very roundabout way of getting there. But once again, fantastic tip. Fantastic tip.

    Aaron Nace: 41:06 Yeah, that's super cool. And you know, like I get it, like I try not to feel like I'm taking advantage of anyone. So at the end I'm going to show them the pictures and be like, Hey, look at these awesome pictures. We gotta be sure the goal is to like, I want people to feel really good about the pictures that I take of them. You know, like I think as long as that's your goal, you really can't do wrong. You know, it's, it's when we'd run into situations where, you know, we feel like maybe we're taking advantage of the people we're photographing. That energy to me is something that I always try to avoid, you know, so it's not, it's not a secrecy in the way of like, this is for me, it's a secrecy of like, this is actually for you and it's a way where we're going to get really great pictures of you if you don't like them or delete them. Like, I have no interest personally in posting images of people that they don't like. Like, you know, this is, it's not for me, it's for them. So, you know, if they're happy with their photographs, like cool. My, my job is, you know, I've got a gold star. Right?

    Raymond: 42:13 Yeah, yeah. I get that sticker from the day for sure. Exactly. Exactly. Uh, well, uh, Aaron, I, I, I really want to be conscious of your time. We've been speaking for almost an hour now, so I only got two last questions for Ya. Are you ready? Let's do it. Okay. Uh, so wow. I hope that this conversation, uh, was helpful to, to many listening. Um, it definitely was for me, so I have to thank you for that. Uh, there's, there's just no replacing practice. And this is where obviously PHLEARN comes in, uh, on flaring. You have mini tutorials. I want to know where do you think that listeners should start? Like what, what, what is lesson number one? What is something that everybody should know when it comes to uh, editing or the post production side of photography?

    Aaron Nace: 43:00 So as I said earlier, light room in my opinion is step one and Photoshop is step two. So if you're interested in learning light room, we've got fantastic tutorials. We've got a tutorial called the beginner's guide to like room classic, which is starting from, Hey, I've never opened this program all the way to the, by the end of the tutorial you're like, oh, I know how to use Lightroom classic now. And I feel like I can improve my photographs through what I've learned. That's a great place to start. If you're interested in light room for desktop and mobile, we have a tutorial on Lightroom, desktop and mobile. All these

    are available on PHLEARN.com and it's a subscription service, kinda like Netflix. So you just pay monthly and you get access to everything. There's a really great discount if you pay annually and you just get access to everything so you can kind of take your learning to the next step. Uh, when you're ready to start learning Photoshop, we've got a tutorial called the beginner's guide to Photoshop, which is the perfect place to start learning Photoshop. So we try to just make that process a little bit easier. So like, you know, here's a great place to start. And then when you're comfortable with Lightroom, when you're comfortable with Photoshop, we've got some other tutorials that are gonna really kind of stretch you and teach you all the wonderful things that you can do in these programs.

    Raymond: 44:18 I love it. Perfect. Those, those definitely the place to check it out. I've been watching PHLEARN videos for years and I can tell you personally that they have helped me, uh, fixed many problems with my father. So a personal five there. Um, and I can, I can attest to that too. The quality of these videos, you guys spend no expense. So, um, of course I got one last question for Ya. And it is, I would think that the most frequently asked question that I get about editing is how do I know when I'm done? Can you please shed some light on this question?

    Aaron Nace: 44:54 So I would say, again, being goal oriented when you start is a great way to know when you're done. If you have really no goals, it, it's, it's hard to know where you're going. You know, it's, I think about it like when I get into my car, if I don't have any destination in mind, I'm just going to drive around for a while. Right? And how do you know when you're done driving around? Right? But if you have a destination, it's pretty obvious when you get there. Uh, so I would say that that's a fantastic place to start. Another little test that I give is just the do I like this image test. And for that test, my recommendation is to take a little bit of a break from your editing. So go ahead and work on an edit and get it to the point where you feel pretty good about it and take a break. Could be five, 10 minutes a day is even better. Come back and look at it again. And if you still like the image you're done. Yeah. If there's something about it that you don't like, then you got a new goal in mind and you can go to work and try to fix that. But if you like the image you're done and you know what? Some images, you'd like the image straight out of camera, so you're done.

    Raymond: 46:02 Yeah. It doesn't require a much, much extra than that. So, uh, just kind of follow up on that. Um, every photo doesn't necessarily need to be edited.

    Aaron Nace: 46:16 Um, no, every photo does not need to be edited. I think most photos can benefit from a little bit of editing, but again, it's not always a huge edit. Maybe it's just like bringing your shadow levels a little bit brighter, increasing the vibrance a little bit, adding a little bit of texture and clarity. Like it's not every photo needs to be edited. You know, greatly or to a huge degree, but there's a good chance that you could improve little aspects of your photographs and those areas still issue, you know, warrants a little editing. I took issue, uh, photos of my partner and I recently at the Garfield Park Conservatory here in Chicago and you know, we were photographing out of the window and I wanted that to be exposed properly. But I, you know, she and I worked dark, we were a little bit too dark, so I brought that into light room mobile on my phone. I use the brush selection tool, so I brushed over our faces and brought up the exposure a little bit and then boom, we were properly exposed and the background was properly exposed as well. So not a huge edit, but something that definitely helped the photograph.

    Raymond: 47:23 Yeah. That's awesome. That's awesome. Well, Aaron, again, I have to thank you for on sharing everything that you did. Um, like I said, you opened up my eyes to a lot of things that I didn't know about, uh, about editing. And I know that the listeners, uh, are just going to be blown away and that they probably need a notepad right now. They've probably already filled it out. Again, thank you so much for coming on. Before I let you go, can

    you please share with the listeners where they can learn more about you and PHLEARN as well?

    Aaron Nace: 47:53 Yeah, for sure. So, you know, p h learn.com is just a fantastic place to start and we have hundreds and hundreds of free tutorials available. So if you're interested in the idea of editing but you're not ready to start spending money, check out a, some of those free tutorials and you'll get a good sense of what you can do. And then when you're ready, you can go ahead and subscribe and get access to all of our pro content as well. Um, we're on PHLEARN on Instagram and Facebook and all of the major social media platforms as well. So if you want to connect to us, we'd love to hear from you.

    Raymond: 48:27 Perfect. Wonderful. Aaron, again, thank you so much for coming on and, uh, hope to chat to you soon.

    Aaron Nace: 48:32 Yeah. So good. Thanks Raymond.

    Raymond: 48:34 This interview was a tough one. I'm not going to lie. When I was coming up with questions it was difficult to, uh, figure out things to talk about that were more uh, technical things that could be explained. Uh, you know, over over audio cause editing is, is, is technical. It's more technical than it is philosophical like photography. I tried my best and I really hope that you enjoyed this interview, but like I said, I, Aaron had a little bonus for you. Listeners of the podcast as Aaron mentioned on the, uh, his website PHLEARN. He offers, uh, Lightroom and Photoshop training. He wanted me to give you the code BEGINNER20. That is BEGINNER20, one word, no spaces or anything to take 20% off of a yearly subscription to PHLEARN. So now you can learn anything and everything you would ever want to know about Photoshop and Lightroom for 20% off. So a huge thank you to Aaron and the whole PHLEARN team specifically in loop a for that one. Okay. So that is it for this week's episode, and until next week, I want you to get out. I want you to keep shooting. I want you to focus on yourself and I want you to be safe. All right. I love you all.

    Outtro: 49:50 If you enjoy today's podcast, please leave us a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast player and continue the conversation with Raymond and other listeners of the podcast by joining the beginner photography podcast Facebook group today. Thank you. We'll see you again next week.

    BPP 159: Chris Owens - How to Photograph the Indianapolis 500

    Chris Owens is the manager of photo operations at the Indianapolis motor speedway, home of the Indy 500. Today Chris talks about the logistics of how to cover such a large event.

    Become A Premium Member is access to more in-depth questions that help move you forward!

    In This Episode You'll Learn:

    • How Chris got his start in photography

    • What an indy car photographer does and the job title of photography manager of the indianapolis motor speedway

    • What Chris shoots monday through friday when there is no race

    • How persistence paid off when trying to get hired as a race car photographer

    • How far in advance the photography team has to prepare for the Indianapolis 500

    • Logistically how to photography an event as large as the Indianapolis 500

    • How many photographers are on Chris’s staff and how they keep in contact

    • How to creatively photography race cars

    • How to add story elements in photos

    • How many pictures are taken of the Indianapolis 500

    • What happens to the photos once the race is over

    • The one piece of advice Chris would give to any new race car photographer

    Resources:

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    Did you enjoy this episode? Check out more recent interviews with other great guests!

    Full Interview Transcription:

    Disclaimer: The transcript was transcribed electronically and may contain errors that do not reflect accurately what the speaker said. Because of this, please do not quote this automated transcript.


    Raymond Hatfield:            00:00:00       Welcome to the beginner photography podcast, where today we're talking about how to capture race cars barreling towards you at 230 miles an hour. So let's get into it.


    Intro:              00:00:11       Welcome to the beginner photography podcast with Raymond Hatfield, the podcast dedicated to helping you grow your photography skills. Raymond interviews the world's top photographers in their field to ask questions that will get you taking better photos today. Now with you as always, husband, father, home brewer, La Dodger Fan, and Indianapolis wedding photographer Raymond Hatfield.


    Raymond:            00:00:39       Welcome back to this interview of the beginner photography podcast. I am Raymond Hatfield and we have a great show lined up for you today, all about photographing Indy cars. Now, if you're not so much into motor sports, I think that you will still pick up a lot from this interview specifically about how much goes into getting the shot in such a high pressure environment. So be sure to stay tuned. But first I want to give a listener shout out this week to Tina sims who left a wonderful five star review in iTunes. Tina says, this podcast is a must. Listen. It is a photography life changer. I have an entire new way to approach my photographs when I am behind the camera. I am in charge now. The camera is not in charge. Keep it up please. Well, your wish is my command, Tina. I will keep it up and thank you so much for your review.


    Raymond:            00:01:38       Reviews are truly the best way to help out the podcast. And if this is your first time listening to the beginning of photography podcast, go ahead and hit that subscribe button. It is free and every week you too can experience the same joy and excitement about photography as Tina. Thank you again, Tina. I have a personal story to share with you. Uh, back in 1988, right before I was born, my father bought a Pentax k 1000 film camera. Now, uh, he pissed he passed. He passed on many years ago and as I got older, uh, I didn't even know that he had this camera until I had went to film school. I came back for, I believe it was Thanksgiving and my mom pulled it out and said that she had found it in a closet and wanted me to have it. Cause obviously, uh, I was interested in photography and uh, and film at the time.


    Raymond:            00:02:28       So she gave it to me and this camera was, it was really interesting. It was really cool because at the time I had a, I knew how to shoot manual. Uh, so I went out and I wasn't intimidated by the camera at all. Um, so I went out and I shot a few rolls of film and when I got the photos back, it was just so cool to see the process. Right. It was so cool to see the images, but I quickly learned that one, as they say, photography is much more expensive than digital, which it is. And for two, I didn't realize this at the time, but, um, the same settings on a digital camera don't exactly relate to a film camera because film, uh, interacts differently with light. Uh, each film stock is entirely different and therefore you don't always know exactly how the photo is going to turn out.


    Raymond:            00:03:16       And I realized that a lot of my photos did not turn out, um, the way that I wanted them to. So, uh, while I saw that it was cool, it kind of felt more, uh, not like a gimmick that's wrong, but it kinda felt more like a, like a fun thing to do rather than a way to photograph the world as I saw it. So, uh, you know, I just had it and I'd shoot a few roles here and there throughout the year, but I really didn't spend too much time with it. I focused a lot more on digital, but, uh, one time I, then I believe I dropped it or it was in a bag and it got knocked around or something. And then the light meter inside did not work anymore. It stopped working and I was pretty upset. I tried to get the light meter fixed, but it ended up, uh, I was quoted, uh, more than the cost of a new k 1000 to fix it.


    Raymond:            00:04:06       So I thought not worth it. So I just didn't, I didn't fix a light meter. And then for, for several years I didn't really shoot any film, um, until probably this last, uh, last maybe two years. I then started shooting film again, uh, since I feel like I can see light a whole lot better now than I, than I did back then. So I don't rely on that light meter as much. Um, but over the past two weeks I put out two rolls of film through the camera and shot, just kind of whatever I felt like shooting and I went to go get that film developed, uh, at our local, a camera store in Indianapolis called Roberts Camera. And shout out to Adam if you're listening right now. He's the, uh, he's the guy behind the camera. He's the guy behind the counter and uh, it was just awesome to chat with him for a little bit, but when I got the photos back, when I got the scans back of the, uh, developed film, I'll tell you what, I will tell you what man, there's something about photos, film photos.


    Raymond:            00:05:08       I don't know if it's, I mean it's a combination of everything, but I can't exactly put my finger on it, but there's a richness of the colors. There's, there's a feel feel and there's really nothing quite like film when you shoot it. Right. So I'm kind of on this high of the excitement and, um, you know, looking back at this film, I've made it my mission this week to shoot more film, which means, uh, I am to save, uh, on developing costs. I'm going to have to buy some gear to develop my own film at home. And surprisingly, you're looking into it today. It's all much less than I expected. Uh, so I'm really excited to get going on that. And if you are in the beginner photography podcast, Facebook group, no doubt, you will be sure to get the updates on, uh, some new projects that I'm working on.


    Raymond:            00:05:58       So super excited about that. All right, well let's get into this week's interview. This was a big one for me and I am completely in awe as you're here this whole time. Uh, speaking with Chris, uh, he is a, he was an open book and it was just great to see kind of behind the curtains of what it takes to really photograph an event like the Indianapolis 500. So if you're ready, hold on tight because it is about to get crazy. Chris Owens is the manager of photo operations at the Indianapolis Motor speedway home of the Indy 500 today. I'm excited to talk about the logistics of how to cover such a large event. So Chris, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.


    Chris Owens:        00:06:41       Hey Raymond. Thanks for having me.


    Raymond:            00:06:43       I am really excited to get into this, uh, episode. Obviously living here in Indianapolis. Um, uh, I've actually kind of a transplant to indi, uh, but growing up my family has been into racing, so I've always known of the Indy 500. So moving out here was really exciting. And this year actually after having been here for seven years, was my first time going to the 500. And it was quite as it did. It did, it did. But it was, it was an amazing spectacle, um, uh, to actually see in person and then to find out that you who have been following on Instagram for a long time for that reason. Um, to actually see you working was a really cool thing. But before we get into, like I said, the logistics of shooting an event like the 500, can you share with the listeners how you, uh, first got your start in photography?


    Chris Owens:        00:07:33       Um, you know, that's, that's kind of a, there is really a few ways. It's kind of interesting. I more sometimes say that photography kind of found me, um, growing up as a kid, uh, with a lot of events and of course car races, which kind of explains where I am today. But, um, I was always gifted a disposable 35 millimeter camera when we'd go to those events. And, um, you know, I just was so, I was so passionate, so interested in like the Indiana Pacers and like, you know, NBA basketball on car racing and all that. Growing up it was really important to me to capture these events on this camera. And it wasn't, the camera was something I was asked for. It was just given to me. Um, so that was really great to be able to not forget, which is a lot of my relationship with photography.


    Chris Owens:        00:08:20       I think what also interested that, and me growing up was just, I didn't want to forget some of these special moments. So, you know, between that and then actually early childhood, the strangest thing, I was actually gifted, um, as well as like a toy. I'm talking like four or five years old, this old like German camera. My grandfather brought back, I guess, like my parents didn't want to mess with it or wasn't important to them or whatever, but this was literally in my toy box. So I can remember like walking around and like marking things up with this camera and, uh, and literally saying the words, you know, make it work, make it work. I knew it did something. I knew it wasn't just you walk around with this. So I think that like, it was really embedded with me at a young age. And then, um, as a senior in high school, you know, I, we finally, actually as a junior in high school, um, they offered a photography class, uh, at school. And I instantly knew whenever I heard and you know, saw that was on the list, I was like, yes, I will be very interested in this. Um, because I had already, you know, been shooting all these things with my disposable 35 millimeter. And also, um, even like buying them with allowance, which is kind of weird for a kid to do, you know, there's all this


    Raymond:            00:09:34       I did the same thing, man.


    Chris Owens:        00:09:37       Yeah. And I remember I actually have even these 35 millimeter negs where I'd set toys up in the yard and moved them. They would shoot, like tried to make a flip book. Of course I had like no tripod and the, they were out of focus, everything. So I looked horrible. But, um, you know, that photography class I'd always been, I wouldn't, being so young, I wouldn't say a photographer, but I had an interest in new of photography. So, you know, once I got going in that, um, things just really took off. I had a great photography teacher, Lenny buyer, Walter and high school, and he was just super supportive of my, um, just me being overzealous for photography, which, um, it gets quite a bit stranger from there. So after taking that class and you know, being a senior in high school and making these like life decisions of like, what am I going to go to school for, what am I going to do? Well, as I'm kind of going through those moments in life, ,


    Chris Owens:        00:10:37       you know, I kind of started to venture towards media, which is kind of, you know, obviously in the same realm, but radio and, um, then with the day you graduate from my high school, they give you a letter okay. That you don't remember because you write it to yourself when you're in fourth grade. All right. So I opened this letter and I'm like, this is the coolest thing ever. What is, you know, fourth grade me gonna have to talk about, well, there's questions


    Raymond:            00:11:06       and you don't remember this at all.


    Chris Owens:        00:11:08       I mean, now I do, I do now. But when you're a senior in high school, you don't remember, you didn't remember that was waiting on you. Does that make sense? Until you get it and you go, Oh yeah, we did this years ago. So you know, there's some pre drafted questions that teachers make up for you and to have you answer, well mine was, what do you want to be when you grow up?


    Chris Owens:        00:11:31       Don't ask me why. Some reason on this day I write a ESPN or sports illustrated photographer. It gave me chills. It shook me. I was like, this is weird cause I'm really right in my life. I'm really interested in the photography. And then that's when I think I even realized that at that age of 18, like this is something that's Kinda been with me for awhile. Um, so, you know, from there I got to school and um, started doing the radio and the media thing and I was like, no, I'm a photographer because all I was doing in my free time was right around and taking pictures. So from there, you know, I just kinda started to pursue my passion for photography. I've always photographed my friends. Um, and just snapshots are my favorite. I know that sounds awful cause everybody's trying to be an artist and they're trying to get all these trade of images and I am too. Um, but I find that I get a lot of those by just messing around, taking snapshots.


    Raymond:            00:12:29       Yeah. Yeah. I get that. That's, that's an incredible story. So at what point did it go from, you know, graduating high school, you're now working in radio and then deciding that you wanted to be a photographer to finally working at, well, okay, let me rephrase this question before we actually get into how you started working at the, at the Indianapolis Motor speedway. Can you tell me first what your job title entails


    Chris Owens:        00:12:56       at the speedway? Yes. Yes. Okay. So I'm the manager of photography, uh, for the Indianapolis Motor speedway and indycar series. And that has a lot of responsibilities and a lot more responsibilities than the fun part, which is shooting. Um, there's some days I feel like I'm lucky to get out there and shoot, but, um, I have an incredible staff, um, that, that helps with that. So I guess, sorry to back up. Um, to answer your question, just to, to say a little bit about what would I do there, I guess as the manager of photography, um, so that would involve like selecting all photographers who, uh, for my staff, for the Indy and IMS staff that go to all indycar races, um, picking their travel dates, um, you know, making sure they get hotels, all that kind of stuff. Um, coordinating shoots, uh, you know, booking shoots for our studio days where we do our like wipe drought backdrop, media portraits.


    Chris Owens:        00:13:58       Um, I shoot day to day, whatever pops up. And most of what my job is is popups. So that will be like, um, you know, So and So from the Indiana Pacers is dropping by and they are going to take a tour of the museum and go for a pace car ride and all that. I'm your guy, I'm there. So when you see the picture on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or the still at the beginning of the youtube video, um, you know, that's something that me or my staff, um, shot. Um, yeah, from there it was just cool. Yeah,


    Raymond:            00:14:34       I think, I think that sounds like a dream job for a lot of people. You know, a lot of people loved the creativity of photography, but maybe they're, they don't want to venture into the business side of things. And I think the idea of, of working, uh, under a company or something to still be able to create what it is that they want to, um, just sounds amazing and myself included. I think this sounds very cool. So,


    Chris Owens:        00:15:01       and that's, yeah, it is, but I'll, I will say as a photographer is, is huge adjustment for me to go from being a staff photographer and having people, you know, being just being a shooter know, that's a lot different. That's, I could handle that. And I, and I, I did handle that and I love that. And I love being, obviously in a manager role too. It just means a lot more emails. I can't a lot more meetings and planning and really when it's event on a time that you are, um, that you're out shooting, doing what you love, that's actually a moment you are getting behind on planning. Tomorrow's, you know, of front row photo shoe and it comes down to little things like making sure there's chairs there, making sure there's a flag of the nationality of the Poll Sitter. I was, I was running around the offices at any atlas motor speedway up 5:00 AM frantic the day of the front row shoot looking for Simon Pagenaud's, French flag and then we have, it just, it's, there's, there's a lot of things people don't understand yeah. About that. And um, if you want a role like this, you know, obviously starting as a beginner in photography, but if you want to grow into a role, um, like something like this, they do exist. I'm proof of it. But you just have to know that shooting becomes the last thing. Sometimes you're far too busy taking pictures to even go take pictures, if that makes any sense at all. Taking pictures that are required parts of the job.


    Raymond:            00:16:36       Yeah. Yeah. So thank you for sharing that. That is, that's a great insight into, into your position. Can you tell me now how, how this job became available for you, how you found out about it and how you pursued it?


    Chris Owens:        00:16:51       Well, um, you know, I first basically my first introduction to the Indianapolis Motor speedway was like 2004, I think I was 14 or 15, a youth group, um, at school with, you know, I wasn't a part of, but I was really into car racing and drag racing and all that as a kid. So living in Indiana, you know what this Indy 500 thing, right? Like you were talking about earlier. Um, I'm just like, you know what, I need to check mark off my motor sports adventure list. I want to go with these people. So I'm like, yeah, I get, I'll go, I'll go. We went, um, you know, they send us there. We supposed to flip burgers like in a, uh, one of the concession stands for the youth group or whatever. They said somebody needs to take a break first. I was so jack up about the place, I'll take a break first.


    Chris Owens:        00:17:42       You guys work, I'll come and shift. You know, I left with a few friends. We never came back the whole day. They were, they were pissed. The bus was waiting on us, like it was full. All the kids were mad. We left like an hour late because we were over like try to seek victory circle. So you know that, that really watching those cars, anybody that's been to a professional car race or especially the Indy 500 seeing those cars come past you for the first time, you'll never forget. It's incredible. And um, you know, at the same time I have pictures from that day cause I might disposable, you know, so I, these wheels were turning far before I knew. Um, so you know, from there kept going to the race and as I got as a senior in high school, like we were talking about may is when you graduate and may's during the 500.


    Chris Owens:        00:18:30       I'm thinking about it. I remember sitting in turn three with my camera going, there is a person who works here, this is their job to take these photos. I couldn't never have this job because someone has it, but I can have a job like this. One day I remember telling myself that and inside I turned three and um, you know, from there ended up transferring, um, really to be closer to Indianapolis, the city and the track. I've always loved the track, transferred to Indianapolis to go to a art school here and you know, just started knocking on the door out there at the track. Um, started showing up. I showed up twice there and the manager of photography, that time, director of photography, he wasn't there. Um, but I was given a phone number and an email address started sending to that, started sending that wasn't hearing anything back.


    Chris Owens:        00:19:22       And really all I wanted to do was try to build a portfolio and um, be a fanboy. At the same time. You have pictures of my favorite race cars and race car drivers and um, you know, after doing that long enough and sending those emails, um, just being persistent, just keep going like, you know, monthly sending an email, hey, hey, hey, just because I knew I only had one shot, so, um, if they don't respond, you know, you, you, you keep going. And I would tell that to any photographer, um, that wants a position. Sometimes people, they're not ignoring you or it's something they don't like you, they're just busy. And I feel horrible because it happens to me sometimes people are like, I sent you an email on may whatever, or a random April weekend when I'm in Long Beach shooting the Long Beach Grand Prix. And I'm like, I got 40 emails that day and I was doing another shooting as well, you know.


    Chris Owens:        00:20:20       So, um, to finish up on that though, how I got there, eventually I, I was working, selling cameras and I always kept, uh, uh, at a retail store and I always kept a portfolio book on the table. Right. Um, because, uh, as a photography shoot, you'd be promoting yourself and showing your best work. And I always wanted, you know, to keep that they're hoping maybe I could land a job from that in photography one day. Um, right person solid said, these are great race car pictures. Um, I should show these with my friend who was the director of photography at the speed. I was like, yes, you should because I've been trying to do that, um, for a year, you know. Um, and so, you know, she did, she was, you know, I was lucky enough that that person came into my life that day and did that and sent that email.


    Chris Owens:        00:21:10       Um, I don't know if you know, he owed her a favor or what, but he responded that day, said, I looked at your pictures on your flicker. I love them. They're the kind of thing we're looking for. Um, because at this time, you know, photography and especially photography is kind of transferring on ditch film to digital. There's still some guys that were, they weren't shooting film, but they were fresh to digital cameras. And this, um, you know, in 2007 maybe they'd been under 10 years shooting digital. So, um, you know, from there I got in just as a volunteer, I would, you know, take time off work unpaid just to go out there and try to shoot every day, you know, scrimping and saving.


    Raymond:            00:21:52       So at that point, at that, okay. Actually I got two followup questions for you. One of them you talked about, um, being persistent and following up and keep sending those emails. Is there as somebody now who's in that position who is continually getting emails, is there, um, a fine line between being persistent and, and being pushy, trying to follow up and I know that's something that a lot,


    Chris Owens:        00:22:19       well, you know, I'm not sure and I'll tell you why. Um, for me, I like to be, if someone is trying to offer me something that maybe sounds great and is great, but at that point in time I can't use, or maybe, you know, my credential allotment is up, I'm not allowed to add more people or things like that. Um, you know, where I can't shoot something for them that they need shot. For me, it's just important to, to tell the, tell them quickly and be fair and be transparent. Clearance. Say, hey look, thanks for reaching out. I can't do that for you right now. So I think that's also up to whoever you are trying to be persistent towards. If they aren't answering you or they're not giving you clear answers, I me personally, that's my personality. I would say, you know, hit them up, keep returning on your, on your thoughts until they tell you until they are, we can get them to say yes or they decide they do need what you have to offer or they just say, hey look, I'm sorry we can't do that right now. I've had people do that to me and um, I think that I would say, yeah, be, you know, you don't, I don't know what you want to send somebody an email every day saying, hey, I'd love to shoot for your product. Or Hey, I would love to be on shoot for your, um, team company brand. But, um, you know, yeah, I would say do until you get a yes or no. Right,


    Raymond:            00:23:46       right, right. Okay. I gotcha. That's, that's a great answer. So this is what you did. You finally got the opportunity to show up and volunteer your time. Was this just a, were you following somebody or was it, hey, here's your credentials. You can just walk around and shoot whatever you want.


    Chris Owens:        00:24:05       I gotta be honest with you. I had no idea what I was doing at first. I couldn't believe they brought me on. I've looked back at some of the pictures I sent as a portfolio. They were like, a lot of her were like out of focus. She know. So like, I think that they acknowledged that they needed new blood. They needed, you know, they needed to keep rotating and getting new photographers from new styles. But, um, at first I really didn't get a lot of attention paid to me and I contribute that. Um, I actually think that that really helped because it was literally like, I mean, I was 19 years old. Um, you know, they were like, yeah, man, I, here's your credential. Don't go over the pit wall, don't get hit by a car, you know, things like that, which is easy to do.


    Chris Owens:        00:24:51       You, you know, you, it's easy to stay out of the way. But um, it was kind of those things. So stay on the way and come back with some neat pictures. I did it. I mean I, I had, I was hardly coming in and sitting down. I was just out shooting all day, popping whatever I thought looked at me, you know, taking, trying to get a unique perspective really without even knowing I was, because they had all been doing it so long. A lot of them were doing it the same way. So, um, yeah, I really contribute being, not having assignments at first, my first year or two, not having assignments, not having anything. I was responsible for allowing me to go out and kind of make great pictures. I hope that answered your question. I know I already forgot what your question


    Raymond:            00:25:37       it was when you first started, did you, did you have assignments or were you kinda off given free reign and uh, you did answer that. You did answer that. So, um, okay, so let's, let's transition a little bit because now you, you're in this position, so let's talk about the 500. The 500 Indianapolis 500 is arguably the, probably the most high profile event that you guys should at the speedway. Is that, is that about right?


    Chris Owens:        00:26:03       I mean, without a doubt it's, it's one of your larger single day sporting events or claimed to be the largest single day sporting event in the world. So definitely the biggest thing we got,


    Raymond:            00:26:15       I said I did not know that. That's interesting.


    Chris Owens:        00:26:17       Yeah. I mean there's, there's events that bring in more people and festivals and things like that, but it might be over a weekend or a week or like the Olympics, you know, more people that's kind of going, but for, you know, for like an eight hour day, it's the time. It's the most people. It's the biggest single largest sporting single day sporting event in the world on, it's right here in Indiana, right here in speedway


    Raymond:            00:26:41       every single year. So for an event, like that, how far out does preparation start for the 500 for you?


    Chris Owens:        00:26:51       So, you know, that's, that is also interesting. Um, because for us it can be almost a full year effort. And, and why that is is because when you think about what would make sense as yet a few months before we should really start ramping up and you know, transferring our lenses and our computers and you know, loading in and all this stuff. Um, and you know, starting to think about shots from our creative standpoint in marketing, which puts they do earlier in the year, but us sitting down as a team and starting to talk about it, you'd think about us doing that a few months before. But the reality is a few months before, we're already working a car race in Saint Petersburg, Florida, the street race, uh, the ground praise St Petersburg or the Long Beach Grand Pre, uh, we're in Birmingham, Alabama, the, you know, we have a schedule list goes on. So, um, if working on the Indycar side, that is, the indycar series is a championship. Just like any other sport that you know, but they travel from event to event instead of playing team to team, it's event to event trying to win. So yeah, I mean a few weeks before the 500, I'm in another city shooting a car race so that, that makes it very difficult. You're doing a lot of your planning on, um, you know, Wednesday, Thursday or Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday because Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday you're often in another city, um, staff to make quick, quick decisions and how you just have a lot of long hours and that's something you have to be committed to, to have a job of photography


    Raymond:            00:28:20       of course. And I think if it's something that you like, tried to pursue, that makes it probably a little bit easier to do though those long days rather than just kind of taking a job because it was the only thing available.


    Chris Owens:        00:28:32       100%. Um, I truthfully am lucky enough to say I work very hard, but I really, we've all had jobs and we all have jobs and we work. I, I haven't really worked in a long time. You know what I'm saying? Because of what you just said. When you do what you love, um, it doesn't feel you said it yourself best. It doesn't feel as much like work and, um, it's, it's fun for me all the time to when I met, you know, a party or with friends or meeting New People. I have a lot of pride in getting to say what I do when they say, well, what are you? And it's, that's a great feeling in life to be able to do that. But to hear somebody say, well, what do you do? And just go, I'm a race car photographer and just watch them, watch them just be like, what? This person is an accountant and there's nothing wrong with that. Or this person, you know, does heating and cooling, what do you do? I take race for a post. Well, what do you do? Like that's it. That's how I get a paycheck from that. It's incredible. It's incredible.


    Raymond:            00:29:39       Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I, I had the, I had the fortune of, uh, of, of I believe it was two years ago now, photographing when, uh, when red bull came, uh, to, uh, the, where was it? Just I guess whatever.


    Chris Owens:        00:29:55       Were they racing motorcycles?


    Raymond:            00:29:57       No, no, no, no. It was their, their, their like world rally cross that they were doing, they'd had like a rad across series and I had the fortune to be able to go and like shoot that. And it was, it was an incredibly taxing day. You know, like you said, you're on your feet all day. Uh, you got to the racism very that long. It's a bunch of different legs, you know, so you got to really be prepared. And preparation was, was a huge thing that I had to learn to, to, uh, to expect right. To look forward to there. Um, and I can't imagine, but at the end of the day, my feet were sore. I was sweaty cause it was like 200 degrees that day. And it was, I didn't even do anything with the photos cause it was just, it was just so like enjoyable for me that at the end of the day I felt, you know, I felt fulfilled. So, so you're absolutely right. You're absolutely right.


    Chris Owens:        00:30:45       She did. That's where a lot of my work starts is whenever you're done I then am like you have to sit down and crank out cause you're working for the media as well.


    Raymond:            00:30:56       Yeah. Yeah. No, I definitely want to get into what happens after we, uh, after we photograph the images. But um, real quick, I want to go back again to kind of kind of the prep side of, um, of the 8,500. So how many photographers are, are, are under you?


    Chris Owens:        00:31:16       So I'm currently, I have somewhere between 15 and 20 photographers and that kind of can adjust. Yeah.


    Raymond:            00:31:25       Staff, photographers,


    Chris Owens:        00:31:26       they are staff photographers. And you might ask why would it take that many? Um, yeah, I mean you are, a lot of people think that what I'm doing, so how about this and going out and taking the pictures of the race cars. That's the easiest part. That's what everybody wants to do. That is like this much of what is needed for my job. Because you know, whenever you're shooting for a company, and this might, this is, this might be interesting to anyone who's interested in any kind of event photography or shooting something they're passionate about. You know, I'm, what I'm doing is sometimes, sometimes what I'm responsible for may be like, Hey, um, we need pictures of a, a, a beer sponsor is having a party in a pavilion tent during qualifying someone. I need someone to go over there and take a picture of their, their event or what's going on.


    Chris Owens:        00:32:26       Well, qualifying check presentation type thing is going on. You know what I mean? So obviously someone has to cover that cause it's the racing. That's why we have jobs and we're there. But at the same time there's something else going on. And then while that's going on there may, um, who knows, it'd be something that's important to the marketing department, some poster autographed poster giveaway that's going on at the same time. Because, you know, at these events, there's things going on for different demographics of people at different times. So, um, you know, and we have requests throughout the whole company. Someone from facilities may say to me, hey, we need a picture of every branded garbage can because that brand paid a lot of money to have their name stapled on every garbage can. You didn't think about stuff like that. You know what I mean?


    Chris Owens:        00:33:15       All this is going on. Why on a Friday practice session, while, you know there's a lot going on, it takes a lot of people. And I'm like, at this point, uh, I have myself, I love race car photography. I have so many, you know, photographers on my staff who are so talented at race photography. Um, what's really important to us is, um, our staff, the most valuable right now are the staff that can go out and take a picture of a, um, hospitality event after hours, guests doing track labs, things like that. So those are, those are the kinds of things that are less, you know, glorious about the job. That's, um, you know, people here sometimes they're like, oh yeah, well I'm up at, or you know, you're out shooting race cars and having a good time and doing all this stuff. It's like, I'm also there at 7:00 AM with, um, guests have a sponsor while they take a two seater ride along pace car labs.


    Chris Owens:        00:34:13       You know what I mean? That's not as cool as being in victory circle for the indie 500, but it's part of the job. And, um, I got where I am by paying my dues, volunteering and doing those things, you know, and that, and that's how I'd say part of how I got the call for the job, um, was because there was a time where I, I left Indianapolis, I moved to Fort Wayne, um, to be home for about six months. The speedway would still call me. They thought I lived in Minneapolis and they'd say, hey, on a Wednesday, they'd be like, Hey, can you come take pictures of these people doing pace lap rides on a Wednesday in October? Tomorrow? I'd be like, yeah, I drive two hours. You know, just to go down, just to stay in good graces and to show them that I was committed to them. And that's kind of dedication. You have to have. 'Em


    Raymond:            00:35:03       and you said how many years it took you to do that to, to, to kind of get the attention.


    Chris Owens:        00:35:11       I've been about three years of doing that until, um, you know, they got to the point where the director of photography had retired and they kind of started looking around for, um, I guess lack of a better term, a new and young perspective. And um, they called and asked me if I'd come in and talk about it and I lost my mind the coolest day of my life at that point. It was pretty awesome.


    Raymond:            00:35:39       Yeah, no, I can imagine. I can imagine. That is so awesome. That is an awesome story. Um, for, for those, for those who have never been, who are, who have never had the, uh, uh, the, the ability to go to the Indianapolis Motor speedway. It is, it's huge. Uh, so I did a little research and within the walls of the ims you could fit a, it's like the Roman coliseum, all of Churchill downs where they have the Kentucky Derby, all of Liberty Island where the Statue of Liberty is the Rosebowl stadium, which is the second largest college football stadium, the Taj Mahal, the White House and the entire Vatican City. Oh. And dodger stadium. All of this can fit within the walls of the ims. It is massive. So on race day for the 500, there's no way that you could possibly shoot everything. How do you decide what gets covered and what doesn't?


    Chris Owens:        00:36:39       Yes. Um, also to follow up on your saying how big it is, sometimes it will be pouring rain in turn three and we will be on the front stretch and they'll call a yellow flag for safety. And we're like, what's, what's wrong? It's a sunny day over here. It's that big. I'm not kidding. That's not a joke. And I'll be like, there's rain in three and then you look in, there's like a cloud over there. But, um, yeah, I guess how do I, your question is how do you choose what to do? How do you get it all? How can you attempt to get it all? You can't, it's too big too and too big of an event and too many things going on. First off. That's why obviously we're working on a staff, but, um, you know, like you said, it's about preparation. Um, there's not a whole lot of time to prepare during, um, an event like this because I'll be shooting the day before a couple of days before the 500 or even the day before the 500.


    Chris Owens:        00:37:31       I have events to shoot. And sometimes it's not leaving there till nine at 10 at night done with your product, with your photos, editing and all that. So, you know, you're not gonna stay there longer and you can, I have, but to, to plan things, you've gotta do a lot of this earlier in the month. And a lot of what it comes down to is, um, seeing what other photographers have done, saying, Ooh, this is great, but they, that's a nice photo that somebody took it a 500, they kind of missed this. I would've done it this way to put this in. Um, so basically, you know, lack of a better term, I don't want to say stealing other people's images, but all, you know, all creative, all creative thoughts and images that they've all already been made. The only thing you can do is elaborate and make yours and make a different way what kind of others have done.


    Chris Owens:        00:38:28       And sometimes in the process you make something that you never, um, you never, you've never, and that is new and fresh. And to me that's the best advice. I'm oil and being creative, uh, and doing something new. But for me, um, really doing that image investigation from what I've shot from what others have shot in years past, how do we make it better? Um, cold day in the winter when there's not as much going on, going somewhere in a facility that you have an idea for of a co where a car would look on track or where the fans are going to be. I've done that a dozen times where I'm up in the stands with a camera in February, you know, and I'm having cold snowy that that might work. I have to wait till people get here. I have to wait till there's cars on the track.


    Chris Owens:        00:39:16       But um, you know, preparation, just being, being prepared, thinking ahead. Um, throughout the year, keeping notes, I like to kind of keep a next year's 500 note on my computer. I recommend anybody who shoots an event, um, or shoots a regular reoccurring event. Does that do it? When it's fresh, you kind of jot down and then by the time you get ready to investigate it, if you can remember what your notes mean, you can, you know, you might be able to make something neat, um, from it. Uh, also, you know, my rule of thumb is to start really the, this might sound silly to you, but kind of planning equipment, even the the day before. I know it's a stretch, but um, you know, even like, you know, before I go out and do something, I used to have an issue a lot where I'd get up to a point like, uh, I forgot the polarizer I forgot this, I forgot that you really have to almost make yourself a shot list, which is a personal shot lists.


    Chris Owens:        00:40:17       Obviously we have one for all our photographers, but one for you, what do you want to achieve and what equipment are you going to have to take with you? I've been known to make a small on my phone. All the men make basically a small list of I need to get this equipment for the day. And that's, that's how you don't forget it because it's crazy running in and out the door shooting assignment needs to be uploaded quick. You walk back out the door and you go, I forgot what I was going to bring with me. Um, yeah, hopefully that's some good guy by some preparation, but it's for showing, you know, it's very high paced doing the racing. It just, it's crazy because there's so many items on a, on a daily shot list and


    Raymond:            00:40:52       yeah. So there you go. You mentioned the shot list. I kind of want to know a little bit more about this. You talked, does each photographer have their own like region of the, of the uh, speedway that they have to cover and then things within that or is it all free rain free


    Chris Owens:        00:41:12       reign and it's kind of all over the place. And back to, you know, when you first asked me some of the responsibilities in my job, this is one of the hardest days of the year. The day before the 500. I have a handful of things I shoot in the morning. And then from there I just, I kind of shut off because I have to make, I don't even know how many items it's, it's well over a hundred item shot list. Okay. And that is things from credentials has, uh, assignments that they, for me, they want things shot for their next year's ticket, something earlier their ticket or their lanyard. Um, you know, every facility like back to facilities, they throw the garbage cans, all this, all that stuff I was talking about. That is all on this race state shot. So I have, it's like making a puzzle that nothing fits and, but you have a knife so you're able to like trying to bend all the pieces and make it flat.


    Chris Owens:        00:42:08       That's kind of like what making the Indy 500 race day shot list is. And I mean there's everything on this from who's responsible for shooting the dead center car coming in at victory circle, you know, and who's going to get these milk shots all the way down to um, yeah. Who's going to take the trashcan photos? So m I s and that literally takes me an eight hour day. That takes me a full day to put everything that everyone that works in our company that has an image request that they need on to one document, piece of paper. Um, you know, it's like triple padlocked and a briefcase, so I don't lose it. Um, it's very, it's, it's, um,


    Raymond:            00:42:49       it's obviously important right to the speedway too.


    Chris Owens:        00:42:52       And a lot of people that are just going out and taking pictures, man. You know, and, and this is kind of where, you know, people who do want to start something at photography have to decide, is that your kind of workflow? Do you want to work like that? You know?


    Raymond:            00:43:08       Yeah, of course. And it was you who, uh, d do you play in yourself in the, uh, in the great shots? Cause you, if I remember right from a post that you put on Instagram, you were the one who photographed a willpower last year, uh, drinking the milk that eventually went on the, uh, everybody's tickets. Is that right?


    Chris Owens:        00:43:25       I mean, that's kind of the perk, right? I've got a couple things that I kind of planned.


    Raymond:            00:43:29       I think that would be filmed in my house.


    Chris Owens:        00:43:33       Yeah. So I normally take obviously being the track photographer, the series photographer, any card I normally do the dead center low. Um, you know, car coming in the celebration of the winter and what always, what's really though is great is I have our staff photographers peppered all throughout that grandstand, um, to get the winter and they get better stuff than I do. They get great shots, they get incredible stuff. Um, yeah. I mean really just having an amazing staff of guys is what, um, that's what makes me look good. Those guys are awesome and then I get to do the things that I want to do as well because of them and, and wouldn't be able to do it without them. And that we just have grown so much there. We're getting a really good man.


    Raymond:            00:44:22       Good. That's awesome to hear. I mean, every photo that I, that I see comes out as just like, it's not, it's not, you know, the old NASCAR photos that saw growing up in my, in my uncle's garage, like this is new photography. It's fun stuff. And that kind of brings me into my next question, which is obviously when you're shooting film, it costs a lot of money, or at least it costs money. When you take a lot of photos, it costs a lot of money. Uh, so having the ability to shoot digital, you kind of have this freedom to be able to, to, to play around, to add more context to your photos. And ultimately what we're trying to do with the photos simply just tell a story within a single frame. So I would imagine that a photo of a car going, you know, 230 miles an hour around the track can only tell so much. How do you incorporate more story into your images?


    Chris Owens:        00:45:15       You know, that is, that is interesting and it's kind of evolved for me. Um, over time there was a point in time where for me just getting the image, the car in the frame and getting it's sharp, like I was like, hell yeah, turn that. You know what I mean? Um, but as time goes on, I've kind of explored myself, um, with different, um, you know, different techniques of doing that. Um, what I like to do, you know, the last few years ago, what was really big to me was I wanted to start showing more of the race tracks, so where a lot of people are doing what I said, they're just zooming in with a zoom lens or getting shot at the car still. Um, to tell its story. I was kinda trying to do more of these big sky shots, car small at the bottom, big sky, and incorporate some motion, slow shutter speed photography.


    Chris Owens:        00:46:11       Um, which is another thing obviously to look into. But, um, you know, showing motion in the images anyway you can, um, showing a little more of the venue. That's kind of what's, what's important anymore. Um, employed to me. Uh, and, and then from there, just getting, you don't always have to shoot the car from the back or from the front. Sometimes you can shoot the car from the back, you know what I mean? Um, any angle, any that's any photographer, any race car photographer who's, who's truly invested, these guys, they're like cockroaches. These guys are crawling all over everything. They're there up at the street courses. We're up in the buildings looking down where, you know, we're, you know, you're laying on the ground and shooting through a crack, through a separation in the wall. Your, um, and it's really, that's an important thing to tell beginning photographers is um, that's what makes a good photographer.


    Chris Owens:        00:47:08       A lot of photographers are going to these predesignated photo holes that are, you know, a safe bet. You know, you're going to get a photo from it for credentialed photographers. But some of your true, your best images are from somewhere different because think about it, everybody's going to that same hole. So if you're doing something, someone else isn't, whether your images is good or not, there's no comparison. Another one doesn't exist. Yours is the best because it's the only one that exists. Now, if you and I go to both shoot out of the photo hole, you might beat me, right? You might get a better shot because we shot the same picture.


    Raymond:            00:47:44       Oh 1000%. Yeah.


    Chris Owens:        00:47:46       So I would tell photographers, um, the best way I can find to make myself useful, and I've always thought this and I still try to stick with this, is how many, how many photographers can I turn myself into an issue? So I want to be the guy standing here getting the main shot, right. Cause that's the shot and that's the safety net. And that's what we need. That's what we're all here for. All right, I'm shooting, I'm shooting. I got it, I got it, I got it, I'm done. Let them stay there. And you go around now you go, as long as you're not in their shot, move around and get something different, you know, or if it's something that's not overly important to you or you're not overly invested, but you want a nice photo of, if you see all the photographers are standing over there, you go somewhere different because now you have a one of a kind new different perspective that doesn't exist in the world except for yours because no one was there. But, right. But you pick somewhere new, go somewhere new, go somewhere different.


    Raymond:            00:48:41       That is that, that's a great tip. I think just kind of in life, you know, if you just replace the word shot with decision, you know, that's like solid life advice. Right. You should put that on.


    Chris Owens:        00:48:53       Maybe I ought to have a job done. Some kidding.


    Raymond:            00:48:57       Yeah. Um, yeah, I think, thank you for sharing that. I think, I think a lot of people are going to get a lot of value out of, out of, out of that statement right there. It is something that I don't think is taught as, as practical as that, you know, as clear as that we're told to get different shots. But there were some real concrete examples there including laying on the concrete. So yeah.


    Chris Owens:        00:49:18       If it say go for it.


    Raymond:            00:49:20       How, how does, uh, camera gear work in a, in a position like this? Is this a job where you bring your own camera gear or is gear provided?


    Chris Owens:        00:49:30       Well, um, you know, it's kind of a mix of things. So, um, for, you know, obviously for my staff, um, we have a great partnership, um, you know, with Canon cameras where they let us try out and loan, um, loan us equipment to try out. We own our own, uh, you know, equipment for the company to staff and our photographers have their own equipment. But, um, with the backing of a, uh, cannon professional services, which travels to a lot of sporting events and events in general and, and car races, um, you know, those guys are awesome. They, uh, they, they provide a lot of, uh, unique equipment for us to try and, uh, then if we, you know, like that, and that's something obviously to purchase, um, down the road. So Canon is, uh, is pretty awesome stuff. It's a great equipment for the, uh, you know, for action in sports. It's always been known for that myself. I've shot an icon in the past and that stuff was great. Um, but you just, you really can't, you can't beat the cannon professional services as a professional photographer, um, and their equipment and their people.


    Raymond:            00:50:39       So, so I'm going to kind of branch off here. Let's say that you have an idea for an image in your head and it's going to require something like a, something separate, super specialized, uh, either tilt shift or like a 800 Mil Lens and you don't have it. Um, is that something that you would reach out to Canon and say, hey, we want to try the shot. Can you ship something out?


    Chris Owens:        00:51:04       You know, that is, I'm not sure what that, I'm not sure how that relationship worked for, um, you know, for, for, um, for all photographers. I know on site at a lot of events that's an option. Um, but yeah, for, for my staff, um, yeah, if that's something canon has available, um, yeah, that's something that they could help out with.


    Raymond:            00:51:26       Very cool. Very cool.


    Chris Owens:        00:51:27       And then they do that. Like if you're at a, if you know, let's say you were shooting, yeah, I don't know, some kind of sporting event and come canon professional services. They're in your credential photographer. You can go to their booth and you know, and talk to them. They'll clean your lenses, they'll clean your camera bodies, they'll let you borrow lens for the day if you want to try something new. So for photographer credential, that events that CPS canon professional services is at, um, yeah, they'll hook you up and they'll, they'll do it with a smile. They'll clean your camera. Hell of a deal.


    Raymond:            00:51:59       Yeah. So for, um, for an event like the 500, which is really a once a year event for your staff photographers, do you, how much do you stress getting the safe shot versus getting that crazy equipment and doing something that's never seen?


    Chris Owens:        00:52:17       Oh man, that's, so we need it all. We need it all. You know, the, I think most photographers in what I do and what an in in event photography in general, maybe this, I would imagine this is most photographers, that's the first thing you do. You get your safe shot, you know, you get your sharp still well exposed, you get those out of the way and then you play. And I tried to do that with everything I go do. So if I need to document the way the crowd looked from the stage, I want a picture of a crowd, I just go wide pop it. I normally carry two cameras so I'll go wide high shutter. So it's nice and still in sharp opposite. Then if I want to do something, if I have another creative lens with me or I want to do a zoom, you know in or show some depth, then I play from there.


    Chris Owens:        00:53:05       But um, I think that's probably, you know, I do that with my on the side. I do concert photography and I do that with that too. I think that safe you, you really as a photographer, I mean everybody wants the flashy, the banger shot, the amazing picture. You really got to cover your bases first cause that's how you have clients, that's how you keep clients. So, um, you know, get your staple, get your, get your stuff out of the way that you know is required and then play because at the end of the day, this stuff they're probably gonna use is going to be all your creative stuff anyway. But if you don't get the still sharp documentation shot than what they hired you for, you know, it's a tortured game. This whole photography thing, it's a lot of fun, but it's um, you're constantly in your head bouncing back to not wanting to do what you're doing and wanting to do it a different way. You're just being torn. You know?


    Raymond:            00:53:58       I haven't thought about it like that. That's a, that's very true though. That's very true. Yeah. They'll always be mad if you don't get the safe shot. Never be mad if you get a more creative shot.


    Chris Owens:        00:54:08       Right.


    Raymond:            00:54:11       Um, so, uh, okay, so, so we go, we know what needs to be covered the day of the 500. We know who's going where, what shots they need to get the equipment that they need to use as well. Winners, you know, the winner wins. You Go, you photograph the milk, you photograph the kiss of the bricks, you come back. And how many photos would you say that you have at the end of the day? A, of the 500. Do you happen to know from this year's numbers? I mean, is it thousands?


    Chris Owens:        00:54:39       Yes, yes, yes. I would guess that it's in the years past. Um, you know, I would say probably I would for some reason the number like four or 5,000 sticks out to me. That might be crazy. But um, you just from the five photography, yes, just from me, but um, at the same time I have learned and having more responsibilities and more assignments and understanding of what will and won't work in photography and have to track that number for me has gone down a little. I recommend for anybody who's a new shooter, shoot a ton cause you have more things to choose from. But, and especially if you have time and none another job following up, you know, me, after shooting the 500 on Sunday, I then have an assignment and the next morning at like 8:00 AM with the winner. So I've learned over the years if I take 5,100 photos as 5,000 pictures I have to look at and I have to spend five seconds with making a decision whether I'm going to use it, whether I'm going to scrap it. So to think about that too, you know. Um, yeah, so I, um, I want to say like this year is probably quite a bit less. Probably half of that probably took a couple of thousand photos on race day. Tons of them are from victory circle. Whenever, you know, when the winter gets out of the car from there, I'm not going to lie to you. It's, you know, the still that you see that's the one, it's not some creative genius. It is a one picked out of 300 from a, you know, so, um,


    Raymond:            00:56:16       again, you got to get that safe shot.


    Chris Owens:        00:56:18       Yeah, you got it. I couldn't wait though for the one second, for the decisive moment. But I know, no,


    Raymond:            00:56:25       you still have a job to do and there's a lot on the line, so I get it. So you mentioned earlier that your job kind of starts at the end of the race, right? Because now you have all of these photos. So what happens to the images after race day?


    Chris Owens:        00:56:40       So the last couple of years, the way we've done it is, you know, kind of stand there. I'll wait. I'll get that reaction shot from the winter. And then once that shot, once those shots are done, the winter goes out to the yard of bricks and does their, um, kissing of the bricks and some other traditional shots at the speedway. Um, at that point I then literally sprint like I run into the media center, throw the card in because at that point, you know that that moment's already five minutes ago. And that's, that's what the racing world is. Uh, you know, in sports world is waiting for. So, um, I have been somewhat to fill in for me and do some of the other sponsor commitment photos with the winter. Um, you know, and then from there you're just, you're there all night, you're there until, you know, if the race gets over and I don't even know, cause I never have time to look at the clock.


    Chris Owens:        00:57:36       Three, four, whatever it is. I'll be there till nine 30 or 10. And then eventually you just, you call it quits, you go, you get tired and go, I have, this is what I'm going to have. These are the images I'm going to have from this event, you know, bundle them up, ready to turn them into our internal archive. And I put them on our, um, our media page where media goes to get images, um, you know, after our events. And of course some of them are more important than others. So I'm throwing some of those up while I'm trying to finish the rest. I mean, it's a juggle and it's a constant brain assessment of what's the use of this image? How important is it? Who needs it? Can they wait a day? Does it need to be shown to the world now? Um, you're just firing on all cylinders mentally and physically for an entire day of the 8,500.


    Chris Owens:        00:58:23       Um, and you know, when you're out shooting, sometimes you're waiting on a shot. You see this awesome shot, the one you want the shot and you go, I can wait your two more minutes for this because there's so many other things going on. So for me, it's just an entire day of celebrating your victories and like not, you know, walking away from your losses. And, um, and then having a plan before the day starts, before the month starts of on race day, I want to go to this spot and get this shit. I want to shot, I want to do this shot this way, I want to do this shot this way. Um, and having them in mind and not spending too much time anywhere, just bouncing.


    Raymond:            00:59:00       Yeah. I would imagine that for every shot that you do get, there's gotta be at least one or 10 more shots that you don't get that you,


    Chris Owens:        00:59:06       every year that I was a part of, I was there for, I'm just like, oh, it's okay, but it's not that cool, you know?


    Raymond:            00:59:11       Right, right, right. So, okay. So, so just to clarify, when you run back to the media center and then you said that you're there all night, you're going through those photos, you're selecting of the, uh, the images that are, that are going to go out, right?


    Chris Owens:        00:59:25       Yup. Correct. Correct.


    Raymond:            00:59:27       So when, when you're doing that, about how many images would you say go into the, uh, go into the, I believe you said the archive of the,


    Chris Owens:        00:59:39       yeah. You know, for the day, I probably contribute, I would say under four, around maybe 400, 300


    Raymond:            00:59:50       and that's between all the, the photographers?


    Chris Owens:        00:59:54       No, that's my cell for the day. Yes. Those are just mine. And others, you know, they have, they might do the same or are more. Um, I, I don't, my big thing is I don't, I was told, you know, from my photography teacher young and I stuck with this, that a photographer only shows their best work. I don't find benefit in turning in a ton of images. Um, a lot of times I just find for clients that, that gets them confused on what to pick. You're putting creative decisions in their hands. They, they didn't, they paid you to make those decisions. You pick the best one, you give them that. And it never fails. As a photographer, I've heard this everywhere and it happens to me daily. The photo you liked the least, that's the one they're gonna use every time. Every damn time. So the boat don't give them to, you know, you don't want to give them too much.


    Chris Owens:        01:00:46       You want to give them what's good. Um, so yeah, I, that's the way I do it. Probably race day is between three, I'm guessing it's under 400, probably 300. Um, but, but we're doing, we're not doing any 500, but we're doing events and practice and qualification, time trials, all that kind of stuff. And in a road course race at the beginning of the month, we're doing that every day in May. So I mean by the end of the month, like I am in tune with this camera on one with this camera. Two years ago I got a little like rough, almost patch, like callous on the tip of my nose from hitting a camera, gets my face for a thousand pictures a day or whatever. Like I'm sorry to, to fight. Yeah, I ramble. What was your question? I'm sorry.


    Raymond:            01:01:41       Uh, I mean really that was it. I was really trying to figure out how many images get added to the archive, so that makes sense. That makes sense. You know, really delivering the best work is, is still part of your job. You know, it's not, it's not just taking the photos, but it's delivering the best photos. I would imagine that having to, uh, deliver photos quick for the rest of the world too, to see that there's next to no editing being done to the image itself. Right.


    Chris Owens:        01:02:12       We're, you're just, we're moving quick. I'm moving quick, man. I'm getting him in there. And um, you, if it's a slow day, not a race day, I have time where I play with them and I, you know, I do a little manipulation. Um, I just, I don't, I don't do super heavy manipulation. Part of that is because I'm trying to make editorial images that are used, you know, and in magazines and on web stories and really the world is lightened up. Believe it or not. I mean, not your big publications, but for standard editorial news, they'll use an image that's a doctored a little bit, um, or as we like to call it cooked, because sometimes, sometimes you see somebody over at, it's an image, it's, their colors are messed up. It's a little crispy, too much clarity. They cooked it.


    Raymond:            01:03:01       That's not who won the race.


    Chris Owens:        01:03:05       We work in a coal mine, there's charcoal all over this guy.


    Raymond:            01:03:09       So, uh, having, having, uh, captured all of these images and then, you know, submitting them, um, you're essentially not a freelance photographer. Are you allowed to use these images for your own personal use?


    Chris Owens:        01:03:24       Yeah, so, you know, I, I'll use them on my website portfolio, which makes sense. That's as a photographer, that's how I make my, would make my living moving forward if I weren't to be with the speedway, would be showing what I'm capable of. I'm also, you know, social media. It's today, you know, that promotes the brand that promotes, um, the speedway and [inaudible] speedway in indycar series and all that. So, you know, obviously anything that you see that I post, it's always in a positive light. I don't have anything bad to say about the series of cars that the drivers, it's all just promotion of Indycar and I'm showing the way I see the world in car racing. So yeah, it's, I'm able to do that. Um, I don't, my images, I don't, I'm, they're not for sale. I can't sell them prince of them, you know, cause tactically when you work for a company, you know, or a client like this, they own their likeness and the, and um, that's what they're paying me for. So they're not my images to sell. But um,


    Raymond:            01:04:25       trying to share that. I think now I could be totally wrong here, but for awhile I was really trying to get pizzas on the podcast who was Barack Obama's a photographer in the White House. Uh, it never came to fruition but I remember reading and doing my research somewhere that he doesn't own those. Like he can't use those photos for anything. And the question that I wanted to ask was cause like apparently those photos are government property and obviously he has a very popular Instagram account where he posts photos that he took. And I guess the way around it, again I could be totally wrong, is that he has to get those photos off of flicker and then post them almost like with a link because again, like he's not allowed to use any of these photos. I could be totally wrong. This could be totally made up, but I guess I was just trying to get more of an idea of,


    Chris Owens:        01:05:14       I would believe it. Um, because, you know, I recently, um, had conversations with someone about the current White House photographer and how they had some images of themselves and just, I guess an interesting thing of how they were going to acquire those images to use them. And it sounded like it was, um, a process. It was a me, maybe it couldn't be done or process. And I've heard this kind of thing about military, um, photography as well that I, I don't know that you're really even technically allowed to keep those images you take for the military and government. I don't know how those images exist in the world and how those people get their hands on them. And maybe it's just literally they're stealing them. They're backing them up. That's what I would do. I don't know. You know?


    Raymond:            01:05:56       All right. Yeah, I guess, again, I guess I just wanted some sort of insight as to, cause I've never had to deal with this as a sense of like photography,


    Chris Owens:        01:06:04       you know, it really, it's basically, um, yeah that you own certain, you know, companies will do, we'll do it that way and it makes sense. It's, you know, you're, they're paying you, it's their property. You're creating the property, you're creating the creative, uh, you're creating their creative likeness and that's what they pay you for. So yeah, I, I don't, um, own those images. I would actually, I'd have to look into that. I mean, I'm sure there's a photo lawyer out there somewhere that could tell you, uh, how many years, you know, those copyrights last,


    Raymond:            01:06:37       I think it's a hundred. Again, I could be wrong, but, okay,


    Chris Owens:        01:06:39       man, I'm not going to live that long. That's disappointing.


    Raymond:            01:06:42       Yeah, I think, I think that's what it is for a, for music, for music to become royalty free. I think it's a hundred years, so, and a hundred years we're going to have some really interesting youtube videos for sure. But yeah. So we're kind of winding down here. I've got a few last questions for Ya. Uh, you've, you've been super gracious with your time. Um, I, I want to know what is something that you think most people don't realize about shooting an event? Like the, like the Indianapolis 500.


    Chris Owens:        01:07:09       Hmm, that's a great question. Um, you know, I think the thing I, that I find a lot with photographers is I'm probably this slow generic, but it on the racing side of it, catching the cars, you know, people see these awesome images that, um, my teammates and myself make. And I think a photographer, a good photographer, like a good photographer thinks I can go out there and do that. Some of it you can, but some of it's like, I'm not really great at and I've been working at it for years. So you have an example. Um, you know, I would say more of the, the, the blurry stuff to creative pans. You see, if you see these cool pictures of race cars and um, you know, there's Buller everywhere in these neat colors coming off the side of the wall or because a fence is in the way or whatever, you know, a good photographer can go out and get that stuff and you, and they still would come back with a big, big blurry messages.


    Chris Owens:        01:08:17       It's a very, very thin line between making it blurry photo creative and a blurry photo, a scullery bad photo. So I would say that I find, and I, I say that because I've known a couple of photographers who have literally, um, done that. We've had come out and said, hey, you know, I want to try to help you for the day or whatever. And they kind of come back saying like, hey, that's way harder than I thought it was. Um, just because like I said, the fine line between a blurry creative photo and a, a blurry, blurry, bad crummy photo. It's a fine line. I'm trying to find it. I'm close to it. I don't know right where it is, but I can always tell which side of it on one. So, um, I would say that I think people, like you mentioned earlier, don't realize, um, sometimes the hours put in on and the commitment involved too.


    Chris Owens:        01:09:10       Event like, like the 500 or, or any big event, you know, a horse race or anything like that you have to cover of being there at four or 5:00 AM before all the people flood in and the traffic is too full and you get stuck out on the highway, you know, stuff like that. Standing like you had mentioned, standing on your feet the entire day, staying alert, um, not getting bored, not losing focus. Um, and you know, every time you go to take a shot, just realizing that whatever obstacles or resistance you have inside you that's telling you, I'm too tired. I need a break. Um, this, I'll be fine with what I got already. Um, things like that. That's just resistance. And that's keeping you from having great portfolio images and it's keeping you from your next paycheck and your [inaudible] or even extending your hobby or one day creating your career in photography resistance. Just that's what people don't realize. There's a little, you know, there's a lot of resistance in and what I do get tired, get sore, get hungry, get bored. You know, you gotta it's a, there's a lot. Um, it's really gotta stay, you gotta stay on it for lack of a better.


    Raymond:            01:10:30       So my last question for you was going to be, if you showed up tomorrow and you had a new assistant, which obviously you would know about because you would be the one in charge of finding them, but let's say you showed up for work tomorrow and there was a brand new assistant there for you, what is the one piece of advice that you would give them? But would it be that, would it be persistence?


    Chris Owens:        01:10:48       I would, I would say yeah. You know, don't, to, to not raise, not resist. Whenever something great comes to you or when you get tired or whenever you start losing focus. I would also tell them I'm the greatest way, you know, to be at the top of this is, um, to be there, to be present, to volunteer, to raise your hand, to be the one to get up and go do something when it's needed by another photographer. I'm being helpful. I know that's so generic, but I feel that that was the way I got, you know, to the point where I'm at, you know, who can go shoot the sponsor event and the tent me did. I want to know. I know I hated it. I didn't want to do it, but I guess I just figured out that if you're helpful by being helpful is um,


    Raymond:            01:11:41       okay.


    Chris Owens:        01:11:41       The way is, it is a great reason for people to use you, you know, as generic as that sounds. Um, you got to, you got to pay your dues and photography. You have to, and I know a lot of photographers, you hear them say things like, oh, I've never worked for free, blah, blah, blah. If I wouldn't have worked for free, I would never be doing what I'm doing because I had no, I had no portfolio. You're not the greatest when you first start with your brand new digital camera. You have to have a reason to be good. And I'm the best I would tell this person is also to shoot, shoot, shoot. Because the, the way I feel that I got to be a good photographer is by always volunteering and doing all this stuff. So I'm always the ones shooting while everybody's sitting around.


    Chris Owens:        01:12:25       So, you know, and I just, you figure things out. There's no school, there's no, there's nothing that can really, there's some small things that can help you, but nothing can teach you to be a better photographer. Nothing and no one than yourself by just going out and shooting and figuring it out. So I would say a lot of shooting, find what your interests are, you know, volunteer for if you're new, if you're literally, I mean, if you're a photographer, I'd get it. But if you're a new photographer, maybe you're not ready to be taking money from clients and people. But if you are working with people who are taking money from clients and our, I'm working professionals, you, you're getting to watch what they do, you're getting to learn from them and one day you're going to be in their shoes. It's not gonna be next month.


    Chris Owens:        01:13:10       It's not going to be next year. It's not going to be the following. But you never know. You may few years, five years down the road, you might go, wow, I've been shooting a couple events or a couple of portrait sessions, volunteering for years. I got this. Now I know, I know all of the trials and tribulations of it. I've seen the problems, I've seen the pros, the cons, and I know how to get through it and get over it. Um, that's kind of what I feel about myself. You know, I've, I've learned a lot in what I've done from, from others and I can take that to do whatever I ended up doing eventually, you know, whether it's your shooting car racing forever or doing anything else. So, um, I would just say, shoot, you've got to shoot a lot and you got to volunteer to shoot.


    Raymond:            01:13:58       It all comes back to persistence. Yeah. That's incredible. That was, that was like a roadmap for, no pun intended, but that was like a roadmap to, to like getting where you want to get to. Like from the beginning. That was wonderful.


    Raymond:            01:14:13       Yeah.


    Chris Owens:        01:14:13       You just got to pay your dues. Yeah. Try things out, get your, get your friend, go take pictures, your friends, go do portraits of your friends. Go and ask a wedding photographer if you can tag along there, your images are a bonus, you know, you won't get in the way.


    Raymond:            01:14:25       Right, right. Yeah. I've, I've told people the exact same thing. If you're just getting started, why not shoot for free. And I think that that, that gets lost. So I'm glad. I'm glad that you shared that. Thank you Chris. I, oh my gosh, I've kept you for so long and I apologize again. You've been so gracious with your time and sharing the seemingly everything that there was to ask about shooting. Um, before I let you go, can you let the listeners know where they can find, uh, some of your work and follow you online?


    Chris Owens:        01:14:58       Sure, absolutely. Um, so my personal webpage is, uh, Chris Alan's photography.com. It's that easy. Uh, Chris Owens, photography.com and on there, um, you see everything from car racing, highlights to, um, street photography, which is kind of my, you know, that's my other passion other than shooting car racing is just street art. It's a lot of that on there. I do stories from music festivals or from concerts or from car races on the blog section on there. So, um, that's something that gets updated pretty often, uh, or something new rolling on there. I'm also on Instagram is where I'm most active, and that one is also super simple. It's just my name at Chris Owens. So that one, uh, lucky enough to have that handle. That's an easy one. Um, then from there, obviously if you're interested in, you know, solely car racing photography, indycar.com, which is the sanctioning body that hosts all their cars that race in any 500. Um, so indycar.com is a great gallery from uh, me and even more great creative stuff from all of uh, my teammates, all the awesome indycar photographers who inspire me and, and hopefully I inspire them to, so there's, there's great stuff from all of us on there.


    Raymond:            01:16:15       Awesome. I know that there's going to be a lot of listeners checking out your work and, uh, just interested in something new. You know what I mean? It's all about hearing new, fresh perspectives. And this is something that I have never done in the podcast is Kinda talk about the logistics of a singular event like this. And I learned a ton. So again from me and from the listener. I thank you so much for, for coming on, Chris.


    Chris Owens:        01:16:37       Yeah, thanks Raymond. Thanks for having me.


    Raymond:            01:16:40       Oh, I will tell you what my biggest takeaway from this interview with Chris was just simply how much pressure he must feel, how much pressure is on, to not only cover an event this size. I mean, you heard how big the Indianapolis Motor speedway is. It is massive. So, not only to cover an event of this size, but manage a team of so many other photographers to cover the event as well. And, and actually how much of the photography side is not glamorous, not being in the winner's circle, you know, not capturing that, that iconic note shot, not capturing those national news worthy moments, but things like trash cans, it's all linked and it is all important. And that is what I got a lot out of this interview with Chris and it reminded me that sometimes when I'm in a wedding, um, and I asked myself, I'm wondering why am I, why am I photographing the table settings?


    Raymond:            01:17:44       Who cares what a plate and some silverware and uh, you know, dinner glass, like who cares what this stuff looks like? These photos don't go in the album. These photos, you know, don't get printed. Nobody hangs this photo on their wall. And I asked, why am I shooting this? But thinking about this interview with Chris, you realize it's all connected. It is all connected. And those photos, while you know they will be important to somebody and if not now, they will for sure be important to somebody in the future. So Chris, if you're listening, thank you so much for coming on. I had a blast speaking with you and I look forward to, uh, catching up here soon as well. So that is it for this week. Um, this week's interview here on the beginner photography podcast. Until next week, I want you to get out, keep shooting, focus on yourself and stay safe. All right, love y'all.


    Outtro:             01:18:41       If you enjoy today's podcast, please leave us a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast player and continue the conversation with Raymond and other listeners of the podcast by joining the beginner photography podcast Facebook group today. Thank you. We'll see you again next week.

    BPP 158: How a Rubix Cube made Me a Better Photographer

    In todays episode of the Beginner Photography Podcast I share how a rubix cube made me a better photographer and how you can take the lessons I learned and apply them to your own photography journey!

    Interested in enrolling in Auto to Amazing? Click the link below to enroll now!

    https://learn.beginnerphotographypodcast.com/p/auto-to-amazing

    Here are some of my bad photos that I thought just because I was shooting in manual, they had to be great. As you can see, they were far from great!

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    My biggest problem here was that I was not getting any feedback. I was not opening the door to the possibility that others could share their thoughts that would help me grow.

    Here is me solving a rubix cube.

    Did you enjoy this episode? Check out more recent interviews with other great guests!

    Full Episode Transcription:

    Disclaimer: The transcript was transcribed electronically and may contain errors that do not reflect accurately what the speaker said. Because of this, please do not quote this automated transcript.

    Raymond: 00:00 Hey Raymond here from the beginner of photography podcast. And today I'm going to share how a Rubik's cube helped make me a better photographer, the lessons that I learned and how you can become a better photographer too. So let's get into it.

    Intro: 00:16 Welcome to the beginner photography podcast with Raymond Hatfields, the podcast dedicated to helping you grow your photography skills. Raman interviews the world's top photographers in their field to ask questions that will get you taking better photos today. Now with you as always, husband, father, home brewer, La Dodger Fan and Indianapolis wedding photographer, Raymond Hatfield. Welcome

    Raymond: 00:46 back to today's episode of the beginning photography podcast. As always, I am Raymond Hatfield and I am an Indianapolis wedding photographer and a your guide for this journey that I'm going to take you along today. Uh, I'm really happy that you are here and I hope that you can learn something from today's episode. And if you do, I would be so appreciative if you would share this episode with, uh, with somebody who, you know, who could use a listen. So last a few weeks, a few weeks ago, uh, my mom, uh, came out here to Indiana to go with us on a family vacation, uh, down to holiday world, Indiana. Uh, I know it's, uh, Santa Claus, Indiana, which is the home of holiday world. Now. Holiday world is like this themed, uh, it's like a holiday themed amusement park and like, uh, um, like water parks. So it's a lot of fun for the kids.

    Raymond: 01:47 We, we love to go. Um, and it's a wonderful time. And my mom and I spent a lot of time talking, just kind of sharing a stories about the past and, uh, w we would, we would, what my mom liked to do was compare, uh, our son Charlie, who is six years old to me at his age. So that of course got us talking about, uh, just me as a child and the things that I did, and I was sharing what was frustrating as a parent and she was, you know, commiserating and saying, I was there too, and you were the exact same way. And, uh, you know, just, just kid things. And, and the more that we got to talk about it, um, I was thinking a lot about my own childhood and how I perceived things. Um, and, and I realized, you know, sometimes when you take a look back you think about how much things have changed, how much things have grown.

    Raymond: 02:45 Um, and in this case I was thinking about, uh, how I learned as a kid and I thought this was really interesting as a kid. I was the, I was the kid who was, you know, interested in absolutely everything. And I mean, I was interested in everything to a fault. Like it would get me in trouble. I was interested in so many things and I think I was interested in

    everything because what I really wanted was to find the one thing that I was just naturally good at. And as I started thinking about this and, uh, really diving in deeper, I remembered, uh, when I was, I dunno, maybe six or no, I guess I was a little bit older, but I was younger than 10 for sure. I was, I was a young child still in elementary school for sure. Probably first or second grade.

    Raymond: 03:42 And I remember, um, my parents were watching 60 minutes and they were highlighting on 60 minutes a young piano prodigy. This kid was, and he, he was probably four or something. He was very, very young. He was younger than I was. And, uh, the parents of this kid had no idea that he was good at piano. They didn't like put them in piano lessons or anything. They were just at a friend's house and the friends had a piano. So the kid sat down and they realized that he could, you know, pick things up just by, just by hearing it and he could, um, mimic, mimic it, uh, back on the piano almost immediately. This kid had a real ear for it. And again, he was really, really, really young, probably four, but they kept calling this kid, you know, natural. I kept saying, oh, he's such a natural, this is amazing.

    Raymond: 04:36 He's natural. He's naturally great at piano. And it almost seemed as though they were playing down how extraordinary it was that I, four year old was playing pieces on the piano that season. Pros struggled with. And looking back, maybe they didn't, maybe they weren't playing that down, but as a kid, all that I picked up on was that how this kid was a natural, he was naturally good at playing the piano. He found what he was naturally good at and it was completely by accident. So I think that is where my hunt started and kind of where this, where this episode is going. Uh, I thought to myself, if this kid just naturally found something that he was good at, there has to be something that I am naturally good at. So if I look for more things, if I do more things, I'll eventually find it.

    Raymond: 05:36 Right. So, I mean, I remember very quickly getting into a lot of things. Uh, I remember I had a magicians kit. Uh, imagine me as a magician. Jake's, um, pastels. I mean more than just like, you know, pen or pencil and paper. Like I went straight to pastels. Uh, I took ceramics lessons. Uh, I was into rollerblading, like BMX bikes, adject tennis lessons. Uh, I had a compass and a camelback for hiking. You know, there's 10 year old kid who's just going to go off and hike on his own. And then also I had, uh, a Rubik's cube. I mean, I was just all over the board with things that I was quote unquote interested in. Uh, and really I wasn't interested in any of them. I think I just really wanted to find the thing that I was good at. But the problem came when I gave something a try.

    Raymond: 06:36 And I'm sure as you have experienced in your own life, I was not world-class the first time I tried anything. You know, and looking back as an adult, it's easy to see why this, why this young child was, was being, uh, featured so young as a piano player. It wasn't because he was naturally good at something. It was because it was extraordinary that he was naturally good at this. But regardless, that caused me a lot of frustration. It caused me to be really frustrated and side. And then I would give up immediately on everything if I wasn't great, I thought, nope, this isn't it. Onto the next thing, man. Now that I think about it, I had a, I had a hacky sack as well. Again, I was probably like eight, maybe 10. I tried for a long time to, to, to be real good at that.

    Raymond: 07:35 Just cause you know, all the kids at school were, we're really good anyway. Uh, but the one thing that that really stood out to me was, was that Rubik's cube, because when it came to pastels, when it came to, um, you know, a magicians kit, when it came to ceramics, you figured out pretty quick, you know, that you weren't world-class. You figured out pretty, I mean right away that, that this is something that you're not naturally good at. Right. But the Rubik's cube was what always intrigued me the most because, um, you, you felt like you never knew how close you might be. Like it was just one more twist or one more turn and then things would just come together. And I mean, I tried to solve that thing for weeks.

    I tried to solve that cube for weeks. And I'm not sure if you've ever tried to solve a Rubik's cube, but at times it feels impossible.

    Raymond: 08:34 It feels like you are just wasting your time. Like this is just an impossible task. It doesn't make any sense. And I would twist and turn and rotate that cube four hours and somehow no progress ever got done. I never got any closer to solving it, no matter how many times I twisted it, turned it and rotate it. So I just, I just ended up throwing it in the drawer because you know, it was, it was pointless to me. I wasn't naturally good at it. And then in that drawer is where it sat for six or seven years, you know, except for several or a few, you know, days at a time where I would give it another try before realizing, oh, pointless. You know, maybe a friend would come over and they'd be looking through my stuff and they would find the cube and, and we joke around and we'd play with it for a little, but ultimately it would always end up back in that drawer for six or seven years.

    Raymond: 09:32 That was, it's home. So then fast forward six or seven years, it, it had come time for me to move to La to attend film school. And as I was packing up the things in my room, I got to the Rubik's cube. At first I hesitated, but ultimately I, I decided to bring it with me and I remember, um, one night, uh, it was probably eight months or so later, um, I was way, I was in way over my head at school. I was in the middle of this huge project that I was not prepared for. I was getting less than four hours of sleep at night. You know, it was, it was a rough time for me in school. I think one night I just felt kind of, you know, done like I needed, I needed a break and I was sitting there in my room and of the cube.

    Raymond: 10:36 It always stayed on my desk. It always stayed on my desk. Well, you know, I didn't mean that I would always play with it, but I'd always stayed down at my desk. So as I'm sitting there in my chair, just wallowing in self pity essentially. Um, I saw the cube and I just picked it up and I started just mindlessly spinning it. And at this point you may be thinking how in the world business relate to photography, but if you're still listening and you haven't, you know, tuned out, stick with me. I'm getting there. So as I was sitting there and just mindlessly spinning this Rubik's cube, my roommate Ben had walked by my room and, and he, he peered in and we were talking for a few minutes and he saw me messing around with the cube and right then and there he, I remember, I remember this so well, he bet me $10 that I wouldn't be able to solve it by the same time the next day. Now what I should have done was just laugh it off and go to sleep.

    Raymond: 11:38 But what I did instead was take him up on his offer. Now you may be thinking right now you may be asking, why would you do that Raymond? Why did I think after seven years of to figure it out with, I mean no luck that I would be able to do so in the next 24 hours. And to be completely honest, it beats me. I have no idea why. But regardless, I got to work and to everyone's surprise, including me, 24 hours I handed and my roommate a complete solved Rubik's cube. So how did I do it? I didn't take it apart and reassemble it in the right order. I didn't take off the stickers. I legit solved it. I did it the right way. Just do twists and turns. And the way that I did it was simple. It was so simple. Are you ready?

    Raymond: 12:41 I googled how to solve a Rubik's cube. That was it. That was all that I did. Now, you may not know this if you've never solved the Rubik's cube, but you can solve any cube, no matter how many you know, jumbled twists and turns. It has in just four simple steps, four simple steps. You don't need to have a phd in math to solve a Rubik's cube. And I thought, in fact, fun, fun little tip, the instructions are included in every Rubik's cube that you buy. So if you wanna learn how to solve a Rubik's cube, you can just go to the store by Rubik's cube and the instructions are inside. But I thought why? Why had I never even looked it up? Why had I never even decided to take the first logical step, which was figuring out how this thing worked? It was because I assumed that you needed to have a natural rain man type talent to solve a the cube.

    Raymond: 13:45 So I never looked any further and that's how it had been my entire life. Like I said, if I would try something and it wasn't the right thing right away, if it didn't naturally click with me, I would just simply move on to the next thing and right then, right then when I solved the cube, I realized I had made two huge mistakes that really hindered growth. That really hindered my growth to learn new things my entire life. Now this is where photography comes in. All right, so mistake number one was assuming, assuming simply having the assumption that others are just naturally good at things and if I'm not good at something right away after the first try, then just to stop looking altogether. Just stop. Don't go any further. If you're not naturally good at it, don't waste your, you have to be naturally good at something.

    Raymond: 14:53 So go out and find that thing. Don't try to get better by practice. Just stop. That was mistake number one and mistake number two was just trying to figure it all out myself. I mean clearly the seven years of trying on my own and not completing the cube, well, it didn't work. It didn't work. It irrefutable, it did not work, but it took me reaching out to those who had completed a cube before to help. In the moment that I did that, I learned how to solve a cube within 24 hours consistently. Like this wasn't like a onetime thing. Like, Hey, I solved it. Please don't ask me to do it again. Like I'm not doing double or nothing. I mean still to this day, 11 years later, I can solve a cube, no problem in under two minutes. I promise you. It's awesome. It's fun.

    Raymond: 15:58 So those were the two lessons I learned, right? Assuming and then trying to figure it out on my own. And I've found this to be the case, um, for everything. If you, if you reach out and you get that help, you will be able to figure out things so much faster than you would if you just went out on your own. And again, I found this to be the case for everything from building a fence, uh, losing weight and especially in photography. And I, you know, I don't want to say that I know how you feel cause I don't, I'm not you, but I can say that I am an introvert. I hate to inconvenience people. It is one of my, it scares me to death, to inconvenient inconvenience people. I hate to ask people for things. I hate to, uh, put people in a position, um, where they have to go out of their way and help me.

    Raymond: 17:02 I like being able to solve things on my own. I like that idea of being able to bootstrap and you know, just do it, put in the work and you will be able to do it. But the truth is so many things in life just simply don't work that way. I think personally that includes photography. So I have always been the lone wolf and I just simply tried to do everything myself, but I learned in that 24 hours that that is just simply not possible if you want to do anything. Great. So from then on I felt right away as if nothing was impossible as long as you know how the tool works, all I had to do was figure out how does a cube work and then once I figured that out I could solve it. This is also how photography works. Some days when I would rather just stay in the comfort of my own home, I think of, I figured the line from a go your own way by Fleetwood Mac, which is one of the best songs of all time and the line is open up.

    Raymond: 18:30 Everything's waiting for you. It takes courage to open up, but once you do, everything is waiting for you to take. If you open up, every opportunity is waiting for you. Everything is waiting for you. So believe it or not, you know, no one is born with a natural talent to take incredible photos. That four year old kid who played piano, look, he's an anomaly. Obviously. That's why he was being, you know, featured. But nobody's born with a natural talent to take incredible photos because it requires the use of a tool. But most people believe that they have to either get lucky or spend years of trying different things. In order to be good at something, you have to know how the tool works to make something with it. And that is vital to reaching your goal. Now, luckily, if you're listening, you can tackle mistake number one by yourself assumption.

    Raymond: 19:42 It just takes time. But yeah, you know you can, you can do that all on your own. Just stop assuming. Stop assuming. And you tackled number one, you're halfway there. But mistake number two needs outside help. There's, there's, there's simply no way around it and that's why I've spent so much time to incorporate community. Even in my newest course audit to amazing learning will only take you halfway because you will inevitably have questions at some point and that's where a Facebook group comes in. Having the ability to share photos, to get feedback, to ask for help whenever you need it in a safe environment is one of the most powerful tools to growing as a photographer. I mean for years I was taking photos in manual mind you thinking that I was just creating works of art because I was telling my camera what to do, but the truth be told, those photos are they're not good.

    Raymond: 20:46 They're not, they're not art. They were borderline trash and if you want to see an example, I posted them in the show notes. If you're listening in apple podcast, a swipe up, you should be able to see the photos. They're not, not that great. Not that great. But once I joined an online community, once I started sharing my photos, once I started to get feedback from others, that is what really took me, that that is what it took for me to really feel like I understood photography. And that's everything. That is everything. And for that reason, and for that reason alone, my course audit to amazing has been kind of built around the Facebook group setting. Now you can learn more about other two amazing by simply heading over to learn dot beginner photography, podcast.com and to make the whole thing more fun. Everyone who enrolls in the course by July 31st will be entered into a raffle where I'm giving away $1,365 worth of photography prizes, prizes like a cannon nifty 50 backup hard drive memory cards of one year pro plan to cloud spot online, uh, uh, online galleries, which is more than a $400 value alone.

    Raymond: 22:08 And I'm also giving away copies of Mark Silber's new book, create tools for seriously talented people to unleash your creative life and many more prizes. There are 25 prizes, uh, in all and everybody who enrolls in the course will be entered to win. And now enrollment, uh, in auto two amazing closes in just a few days. If you're listening to this, the day that it goes out, enrollment closes July 31st. So if you want to enroll, just head over to learn that beginning photography podcast.com and you will see auto two amazing right there. So whether you're like Gwyn or listener who finds most benefit from going to in-person photography meetups, or maybe you're more like me and like the comfort of online groups, whatever is right for you, you need some way to, you need, you need to find some way to share your work in a way that allows for feedback. Don't go asking for feedback right away, but you need to find a safe place where you can accept feedback. Now you can go to meetup.com which is not a dating site, I promise. And you can probably find 30 photography meetup groups within your community. So if you need one last shot of encouragement to join an online community and get that help, get that feedback and grow as photographers together. Here you go.

    Raymond: 23:43 You know what will happen if you go, you know what will happen if you don't join a community, nothing. Nothing will happen. You will stay exactly the same, but you don't know what will happen if you do go. If you do join that community, if you do reach out to that photographer, I mean, you could meet your next best friend. You could be opened up to a new form of photography. You could meet somebody who will let you tag along with them, uh, to a shoot. You know what will happen if you don't go, but you don't know what will happen if you do go be open. Everything's waiting for you. See what I did there? I tied back in that Fleetwood Mac reference. Yeah. Okay. Anyway, that is it for this week. I hope that this episode helped change your mindset in some way. I hope that if you were stuck feeling as if photography was hard, as if it was complicated, as if you weren't naturally good at it. So why do we even continue to try? I hope that I changed your mind. I hope that I showed you that

    there is another way and that if you continue to push, you will make it because this takes practice.

    Raymond: 25:13 So that is it for this week. If you want to see a video of me solving Rubik's Cube, head over to the show notes and a, there's a video right there, uh, that you can check out. So that is it for this week. Until next week, I want you to get out. I want you to keep shooting. I want you to focus on yourself and I want you to be safe. All right, that's it. I love you all.

    Outtro: 25:37 If you enjoy today's podcast, please leave us a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast player and continue the conversation with Raymond and other listeners of the podcast by joining the beginner photography podcast Facebook group today. Thank you. We'll see you again next week.

    BPP 157: Marc Silber - Tools from Seriously Talented People to Unleash Your Creative Life

    Marc Silber is a best selling author, photographer, filmmaker, and producer of the very popular Youtube series Advancing Your Photography, where he has interviewed scores of some of the biggest names in photography. 

    He started out learning darkroom skills and the basics of photography at the legendary Peninsula School in Menlo Park, CA, in the '60s, and moved on to hone his skills to professional standards at the famed San Francisco Art Institute. Marc moved into teaching photography in workshops all over the country, he became renowned as an engaging and helpful speaker and coach, as his greatest joy comes from helping others. 

    He loves adventure and you'll find him out backpacking surfing or snowboarding, or maybe just chilling, taking a walk through Carmel with his wife and Golden Retriever. 

    Enrollment is open for Auto to Amazing until July 31st! Click here to learn more!


    In This Episode You'll Learn:

    • How Marc got started in photography

    • Where Marc got the idea for his new book Create

    • What surprised Marc most when interviewing non photographers about creativity

    • Common misconceptions people have about creativity and where it comes from

    • Key tools Marc learned from seriously talented people

    • Simple ways we can increase our creativity

    • When a piece stops being a photograph and becomes art

    • The most actionable takeaway Marc has for photographers who read his book.

    Resources:

    5-stages-of-creativity-2.jpg
    fausto-Edit-Edit.jpg
    lone cowboy no doging with noise reduction-1-2.jpg
    Marc Silber- my mexico 1969.jpg

    Did you enjoy this episode? Check out more recent interviews with other great guests!

    Full Interview Transcription:

    Disclaimer: The transcript was transcribed electronically and may contain errors that do not reflect accurately what the speaker said. Because of this, please do not quote this automated transcript.

    Raymond: 00:00:00 Hey Raymond here from the beginning of photography podcast and today we are learning about tools from seriously talented people to unleash your creative life. So let's get into it.

    Intro: 00:00:13 Welcome to the beginner photography podcast with Raymond Hatfields, the podcast dedicated to helping you grow your photography skills. Raymon interviews the world's top photographers in their field to ask questions that will get you taking better photos today. Now with you as always, husband, father, Ho brewer, La Dodger Fan and Indianapolis wedding photographer Raymond Hatfield. Welcome to the [inaudible].

    Raymond: 00:00:42 This week's interview, as always, I am Raymond Hatfield, your host and Indianapolis wedding photographer. This has been a a quite a week here in the Midwest. It has been extremely hot. There's been a lot of times spent in doors and when you have kids who kind of have to stay indoors because it's, it's almost unbearably hot outside at the, you really don't get a lot done throughout the week. I've realized a, so I am ready for to cool down for sure, but I know that this has affected like I think they said 220 million Americans. This, this heat wave that we got going on. So, uh, if you're out there and you're listening, um, you know, I'm with you. I'm with you here today. So hopefully soon it'll cool down and, uh, it'll be a lot more comfortable. But this week, this week, I am, I'm, I'm very excited, uh, because I have the pleasure of speaking with past guest who's been on the show twice before mark Silber about his brand new book called create tools from seriously talented people to unleash your creative lifestyle.

    Raymond: 00:01:47 So this book, um, is, is mark interviews a lot of people who aren't just photographers. That's mainly what Marka focuses on himself, but, and all of his past books, in fact, he has a youtube channel called advancing your photography. But in this book he talks to CEOs, uh, motorcycle instructors, uh, just a ton of people who aren't maybe what you would think traditional creatives. Um, and then he kind of breaks down their creative, how they've created a very, how they've created, know how they created a very creative life. And, uh, it's just a wonderful, wonderful interview. And talking with mark. I always know what's going to be a fantastic interview, just loaded with great tips and takeaways. And his book is exactly the same. So I actually got an advanced copy of his book and I can tell you that if you like the style of this podcast, which is a lot less technical than a lot of other photography podcast and more about the why and how, then you're going to love his new book.

    Raymond: 00:02:51 So if you're interested, you can get a on Amazon, his new book starting tomorrow, July 23rd. Um, or you can just swipe up on the podcast player and check out the show notes. I will have a link to where you can buy the book now, but if you want to win a copy of Mark's new book, I have some great news for you today. I am opening very limited enrollment to my new online video course, Auto to amazing. Now you're thinking, I've heard you talk about this before, so you may be may remember that actually launched through this course last month to a group of Beta students. And I'm not going to lie. It was a whole lot harder than I expected. Um, and there were some, there were some rough spots within the course that I didn't see at first. But with the help of all of the Beta students we worked together, I took their suggestions, I added additional trainings, modified the format.

    Raymond: 00:03:58 And I'm pleased to say that this course is better than ever. So in order to amazing, I promise that you will learn how to shoot manual in 30 days or less guaranteed. This is the fastest way to learn photography. The course is broken up into four weekly modules that are prerecorded so you can actually watch them whenever is convenient for you. So in week one we cover exposure and this is where we learn how to know what settings to change and when. And this is where we get into shooting manual. Week two we cover composition and how you can immediately improve the quality of your photos just by changing where you point your camera. Week three is all about light, different types of light and I'll show you how to see light. So you always keep your subject looking great. And then in week four we kind of wrap it up by bringing it all together in a series of exercises designed to solidify your understanding of photography and how to shoot in multiple situations.

    Raymond: 00:05:00 So each week, some module we'll end with a simple practice exercise that focuses on that week's topics. So in the first week, which is all about exposure, I challenge you to get out and actually take your first photo in manual. So this course is not for somebody who is already comfortable with manual or or feels like they have a good grasp that they need to get to the next level. This is for those of you who are starting from zero, are shooting in auto and are ready to finally take control of your camera. And you know, take the photos that you've seen in your head and not the photos that your, that your camera sees. So after each week's a simple exercise, then we take those photos and you can come into the private auto two amazing Facebook group, share your photos, get feedback and ask questions to get you learning even quicker.

    Raymond: 00:05:53 And I'm so confident that you will learn how to shoot manual in 30 days or less. But if you complete the course and you do not feel like you've learned to manual, I will give you double your money back. I'm serious. That is how confident I am in this course. If you follow it, you will learn manual. So enrollment is open today and closes on July 31st so that we can start training the next day, August 1st so August is going to be probably one of the most transformative months of your entire life. If you, if you sign up for the course as it is the month that you will learn photography. So to enroll in order to amazing, you can do so right now by hitting over to learn that beginner photography, podcast.com again, that is learn l e a r n. Dot. Beginner photography, podcast.com and I have a huge bonus also that I know you will love.

    Raymond: 00:06:56 Students of Auto to Amazing. Will get access to four live Q and A's from past guests who are professional photographers. Yes, this will happen within the Facebook group. I'm talking photographers like Andrew Helmets who is also the host of the beginning of, I'm sorry, on the host of the beginning of photography podcasts Andrew Helmitch is the host of the photobiz exposed podcast. He has decades of experience and he is going to share how to best prepare for your first page shoot. We're going to have nick church in there to answer your questions, who went from zero to full time in 24 months and we'll share what you actually need to learn and what is completely, you know what is not necessary, so what you should be focusing on to get you to learn as fast as possible. There's also going to be Matt

    Payne, who's a landscape photographer and he's going to walk you through how he finds locations and how he prepares for his incredible landscape photos.

    Raymond: 00:07:57 So this is your opportunity. There's also one more photographer who I can't share yet because they're still confirming whether or not they will be able to commit. But I'm extremely excited. So this will be your chance if you enroll in order to amazing and become a student. This will be your chance to ask your questions, your personalized questions, questions that maybe don't apply to other people or, or you know, because of based on where you live or the gear that you have to ask your questions to these professional photographers. Oh, alive. I'm so excited about this. So again, this is only available to students of Auto to Amazing. But the bonuses aren't over. Yes. If you enroll in auto two, amazing before July 31st I guess. Yeah, by July 31st you are also going to be entered to win one of 25 different prizes totaling $1,365 I'm serious, $1,365 worth of prizes.

    Raymond: 00:09:03 I am giving away prizes like today's guest, Mark Silber's brand new book, create tools from seriously talented people to unleash your creative life. So for a list of prizes and to enroll in audit too. Amazing. Just head over once again to learn that beginner photography, podcast.com that is a learn l e a r n dot beginner photography podcast.com right now. I really hope that you can tell how excited I am about this course. So much work went into it and I truly want to see each and every one of you succeed in wherever you want to go with photography. So again, if you want to enroll in audit too. Amazing. Just head over to learn dot beginning photography, podcast.com. Okay. That is it for now. How about we get on into this week's interview with Mark Silber?

    Raymond: 00:10:04 Today's returned guest is a listener favorite. Today's a photographer and creative Mark Silber is back to talk all about the process of how to become creative, which a he has documented in his brand new book, create tools from seriously talented people to unleash your creative life. Mark, welcome back to the podcast. Raymond, happy to be here. As always, a pleasure. It's always nice to see a familiar face. It's fun. I feel like it is, we just have these a, it's like every time you come out with a new book, we get to another face to face. And a, I just want to let you know that I truly enjoy these, uh, these meetings and I know that the listeners do as well. So I know that this is going to be a great interview. Fantastic. Yeah. So, uh, I want to, I know that you've been, this is now your third time on the podcast. You weren't on back in episode 65 and episode 97. So for anybody who's listening, go back and listen to those because, uh, they're just, they're just wonderful. Um, little, uh, little bits of insight into Mark's life and, uh, um, I'm excited for today's episode, but for those who haven't, uh, maybe those who are new to the podcast, the podcast has grown quite a bit in the past year. Can you remind us how you got, uh, to, to where you are today?

    Mark Silber: Raymond:

    00:11:19 00:11:26

    Wow, okay. There's a lot with a very simple question. Well,

    Mark Silber:
    definite point where I became a photographer. Um, here's the before point. I was shooting with a Brownie camera, taking the rolls of film to a drugstore and getting back, very disappointing prints that were muddy, small, very uncreative. And I, uh, really never felt like a photographer. One day my teacher in the seventh grade said, hey, uh, I have a dark room. Would you like to see how it works? And I thought, yeah, that would be cool. So we developed the roll film and that was the first point of magic. You know, you, you, you put the film in, you shake the can around and you come out with a roll of film. But the real magic occurred when we put it into the enlarger and all of a sudden, instead of these mighty tiny little prints, they might've been five by sevens, maybe even an eight by 10. And all of a sudden we could, uh, adjust the contrast. We

    00:11:26

    you know, I started as a photographer at age 12 before there's a

    could crop. We did all these magical things. That's when I became a photographer age. Well, in fact, in my new book and previous books, I, I have photographs from that time period.

    Raymond: 00:12:38 You know, it's funny because, uh, I've seen those photos in the past and I didn't know the story behind them until I read your newest book and some of your photos that I saw that you took on your trip down in Mexico just blew me away. And at the time you were still like a child, you know what I mean? Like you're still very young and developing, and yet these photos that you were producing were, uh, uh, were wonderful. The technical skill that was required to take those photos was a fantastic

    Mark Silber: 00:13:05 thank you. You know, they even surprise me because not even, well, you know, I was 17 years old and even PR, yes, I had the technical skills down already by them. But really I can see that I put these people at ease because when you go to, especially a third world country, a lot of times you just get these very stiff poses as soon as you pull out a camera or worse. I've had people shake sticks at me for, oh wow. Oh yeah, come right after me with a stick. But you know, because there, there's a feeling that you're going to capture their soul. Right. And to some degree we do that as photographers. We hopefully don't do it in a negative way, but there's, there is that feeling of uncomfortability that you have to break through. And that's, I see that in my photographs, I was kind of amazed that I, at that age even, I was able to chill these people out enough to, for me to take a photograph that had some meaning to it rather than it just, you know, stiff pose like this.

    Raymond: 00:14:05 Yeah. Well, I don't want to give away a too much of the story that, uh, that you shared there in the book, but I would imagine being able to get out of your high school and go to this brand new location must have, uh, uh, just kind of put you in this new mindset. And I think what a brain, oh, I bet. I bet that's, I bet that's exactly what it was. And that is, uh, that's a great chair. So I, I apologize for cutting you off there halfway to, but uh, so you started very young. Uh, and then where did it go from there?

    Mark Silber: 00:14:31 Well, I, you know, kept honing my own skills, uh, largely self- taught as a photographer. I did go to the San Francisco Art Institute, um, which, you know, the main thing, the takeaway from that was all of a sudden I was into the world of other photographers because before that it was kind of just me and my own little universe showing my work. And now I'm in a more competitive situation. You know, you're dealing with a lot of other really good photographers you're getting critiqued in that started to sort of prove me up to what it was like to be a professional photographer. And from there I just kept my own learning process. I actually went in and I talk about this in the book. I went into to a completely different direction and came back to photography, uh, in the early two thousands when digital was just starting to become something that you could actually employ as a tool rather than a kind of a toy.

    Mark Silber: 00:15:29 A, I, my first camera was 3.5 megapixels, you know, so, you know, it wasn't a very serious camera, but then in 2005, I really jumped into the digital world and so had to really train myself all over again. Yeah. And then from there I learned video and became a videographer and a video producer. So I just kept going on that same path and that's how I ended up doing my youtube show of, you know, the many, many photographers I interviewed over the years, which I'm still doing. Yeah. My books have grown out of that, of those conversations to a large extent.

    Raymond: 00:16:06 Yeah. You know, it's a, it's funny, that's kind of where it, right. Where I was going with, uh, with my next question here is that like, you are a photographer, like that's where w where it all started for you, this kind of journey of creativity. But in your book you don't exclusively interview other photographers, which I enjoyed a ton to be able to hear

    everybody else's take on, on creativity. I want to know. Um, well, I guess first can you tell me a little bit about the book and then where did you come up with the idea for the book?

    Mark Silber: 00:16:38 Okay. Uh, I'm not even sure where I came up with the idea of, uh, you know, it just sort of bubbled up. Uh, I believe it was, you know, for me it was the whole transition from, okay, I feel like I've talked about photography enough at this point. I want to talk about the bigger picture, uh, of creativity because really a photograph is, is a way of communicating. It's one means of communicating what you feel or what you see, but there's a lot of other ways to do that. And I'm kind of involved in many different forms of creativity, uh, aside from photography. So I just decided to tackle this subject Kinda head on. My process at this point is to take the subject and take it apart as best I can. But then to augment that, my own learning process and what I've come across with interviews from other people that I admire in one way or another.

    Mark Silber: 00:17:34 And that's basically this the same approach I had with this book. So I decided, you know, the book is an interesting thing. It kind of develops as you go. Yeah, you should, you know, you should put an outline together and you should try to follow that as best you can. But it's a big work in progress and I can imagine. Yeah. You know, it's, it develops as you go. And, um, part way through. I decided wouldn't it be cool cause I knew I was going to do some interviews but I thought wouldn't it be cool to get a variety, a wide variety of different creatives so that I wasn't just talking to photographers, I was talking to musicians and um, digital other digital artists and even a friend of mine who's a serious motorcycle racer, you know, these are all different forms of creativity. And I thought it would be interesting to see what the commonality was. So that was my premise and it paid out. You know, we did find certain common denominators, certain things they had to overcome that were very similar from person to person. And, um, to me it was a delight. Every time I did one of these interviews, I was learning something to, yeah, which has always been the case for me. I'm going to take a little sip here.

    Raymond: 00:18:49 I love that because that's always been kind of like the thesis of this podcast. You know, I, you know, you can only learn, um, so much from like actually doing something, you know, and you can be like really great at it, but it's not until you get kind of the collective mind of a society, uh, that you can really learn and grow and expand on, um, these new creative ideas. And I think that's why I resonated so much with the book. I truly did take away a lot from it. And in fact, my favorite interview for sure was when you were sticking with, uh, your friend Keith Cole for sure. It was, uh, um, just really insightful, you know, as somebody who has written motorcycles before, as somebody who also photographs a, to see how the two connected, uh, really, really expanded my idea of exactly what creativity is. So,

    Mark Silber: 00:19:38 yeah, I'm really fun, Buck. Well. Thank you. Yeah. I think the other thing, Raymond, is that, you know, as photographers, we shouldn't just divorce ourselves from other forms of creativity and you'll find many truly outstanding photographers have also been multitalented. Ansel Adams is a good example. He was a classical pianist. In fact, I did not know that. Yeah. As a matter of fact, he was groomed to become a, a, you know, professional pianist. And he then found photography. So He fell in love with photography. He had to make this decision which way was he going to go because he knew that you really couldn't pursue them both professionally and he decided to go with photography, yet he continued to play a piano. Uh, you know, you know, and he wrote and you know, he was involved with other creative skills than just photography. Another one of my mentors, Henry Cartier EBR Song also became a filmmaker and also a pen and ink artist. Uh, you know, I think he just transitioned to the point where he wanted a little more challenge. And I do believe that happens with some photographers that get to a point where, okay, I need a bigger challenge. And for him it was drawing and pen and ink. Wow. But no matter what the skills are, there are these common points, which is what I try to put together in the book. Okay.

    Raymond: 00:21:04 W that's kind of interesting. Um, hearing, hearing everybody else's take. Now you interviewed, um, quite a few people for your book. Yeah. I want to know, um, because you interviewed a lot of non photographers, I want to know, uh, who surprised you the most with maybe one of their answers?

    Mark Silber: 00:21:23 You know, um, to me the most startling and the most kind of insightful interview is with the photographer, but he's not known. He's not a pro photographer. And that's Chris McCaskill who is one of the, you know, he and his family founded smugmug, which has now become huge, really, really huge. And they, they ended up acquiring flicker. So they're kind of the biggest in the industry. But Chris's interview, I knew something about it because he had told me this story kind of a while. Actually, while we were setting up for a workshop, he sort of told me a little bits and pieces of this story and I couldn't believe it. I always thought I wanted to come back and find out more. But basically what happened was he grew up on the streets of Oakland homeless. His mother was a schizophrenia and she just lost it.

    Mark Silber: 00:22:14 So she had actually, you know, been a research scientist and whatnot and somehow, wow, they ended up on the streets of Oakland homeless. But the short version of this story is that he was able to get back into society. He earned his MBA at Stanford. He became a serial entrepreneur. And along the way, I worked with Steve Jobs, but one of the things that kind of blew me away is that he said every single day he didn't take for granted the things that we have in our culture. The fact that you could open your refrigerator and it's stocked with food, that you could get on a bus and go skiing, that you could take a warm shower, that there were educational facilities available to you that anyone can access. So he said every day is a joy for him because he knows how bad it can be. And I found, I found that to be really remarkable because I think we can overlook the fact that, wow, we were pretty privileged no matter where we are now, what our station is as a whole, as a culture, we're pretty privileged and we can forget that a lot of people aren't living that way.

    Mark Silber: 00:23:27 Sure. And overcoming that is pretty remarkable to go that far.

    Raymond: 00:23:32 So that's, that's, that's really interesting. Do you think that it's because of his, uh, now obviously you can't speak for him, but do you think that he got that point of view because of his, of, of, of being homeless and having, having nothing?

    Mark Silber: 00:23:46 Oh, absolutely. You know, he went from homeless to up kind of an upper middle class family. And for instance, he said, you know, the fact that you could go on a bus and go skiing was just unbelievable. Yeah. You know, he had a comparison point for the rest of us. You know, we're, we can go along with things to the point where it just seems normal and natural, but for him it was just such an on off switch, you know, nothing to something in a very short period of time really caused him to be aware of all the, all the cool things that we have available to us. And I think his love of photography really is part of that.

    Raymond: 00:24:26 How do you equate that, that mindset, um, to, uh, I don't want to say being more creative, but adding creativity into somebody's life. Does that make sense? Does that yeah. Shouldn't have substance?

    Mark Silber: 00:24:39 I think so. And I, I think it's kind of the story of most of these interviews, these, every one of them had something to overcome. You know, some were personal hardships. Some of them were like Nancy Cartwright, who is the voice of Bart Simpson, you know, and something like nine or 12 I lost track other voices on the Simpson. Oh yeah. As well as all sorts of other voices that you wouldn't even know. But you know, she tells the story about coming from catering Ohio, which isn't exactly the Mecca for an actress. Sure.

    Coming from catering Ohio to going to UCLA, obviously in the middle of Hollywood near Hollywood, and getting her career launched and it just, as she was launching her career, her mother died and it was a huge setback and a huge turning point for her. Do I go home? What do I do?

    Mark Silber: 00:25:34 I mean, what am I doing now? Her mom was obviously a really important part of her life and then just after that her brother died. So she was hit by these two really traumatic experiences that could have thrown her off track. But you realize the importance of even to honor them to remain on her creative path. And I'm not exactly directly answering your question, but I think that the answer is that each of us has to overcome certain things. We've all got, you know, whatever it is, financial or emotional or inner demons or whatever that we have to push through and push over and push past to achieve the goal of, of being a creative. And it's not just a finger snap, you know, something you have to work at.

    Raymond: 00:26:22 Yeah. Well that, that's funny cause I think, um, before I read your book, if you were to ask me where creativity came from, I probably would've said a place of pressure and like out of spontaneity. But now after reading your book, I can now see like that I was looking at it all wrong. What do you think are some other misconceptions that people have about creativity?

    Mark Silber: 00:26:50 You know, Raymond, I think the most common misconception is I'm, I'm not creative. So some people are, you're born, you're born creative, you're born with a paint brush in your hand. You know, Pablo Picasso, it's like he must've been a great artists from age two or uh, you know, Chase Jarvis was a stellar photographer and had no hardships or whatever, or Chris Burkhardt, you know, it just became an overnight success if you're not familiar with him on Instagram. But let's, let's take Chris as a, as an example. You know, he said it was a lot of work. It was like a 10 year overnight success. Yeah. And you work hard at it and you persevere. And I think the most common misconception is some people haven't and some people don't. And I don't believe that's true. And a number of my guests at the same thing, I believe everyone has some area that they can be creative in.

    Mark Silber: 00:27:46 And let's expand the idea of what creativity means. It doesn't just mean being a great photographer. It could be in any form of art, including life itself. You know, I, I believe that, uh, you know, somebody who's a great cook that's creative. Obviously you're making something, which is what creativity means. You're creating something out of raw material and you're using your imagination to put it together, which is what you do with a photograph or you do with a painting or you do with decorating your house. So the, the key I believe is this, find your passion, find your area of creativity and roll with it. And then just expand from there and know that you do have the ability to be creative no matter what it is. So that to me is the most common misconception.

    Raymond: 00:28:35 I love that. And I want to share a personal anecdote real quick. Yeah. And that's, uh, every year I have a pretty short wedding season. I don't like to book too early. I don't like to shoot too late. Um, and I always find that like, uh, I'll have a good year and then come, you know, may when it's time to start shooting again, I feel really, really rusty. And when I get out there and start shooting, it's nowhere near as good as the photos that I take towards the end of the year. Like October when I've done that practice when I've put in the work and when I uh, you know, just made that time to be doing more photography. So um, I can, I can vouch for, for that statement right there is that you're either born with it or you or you're not. Because in May I would say, ah, what am I doing? Like people are gonna find out I'm a fraud, but in October I'm like, I'm feeling good. Like I need to be doing some of those. Yeah, exactly.

    Mark Silber: 00:29:24 Yeah. You know, it's interesting cause that kind of ties in with the whole cycle of creativity that I go over, which might be a good point to just touch upon that. Absolutely. So at this, at the starting point at the center, which actually never ends, is the idea of visualization, which is vision for whatever it is you want to create. If you're a wedding photographer, you have some vision of the, of the wedding, you have some idea who you're going to take photographs of. You have a shot list. You, you have a style that you've already visualized it. Maybe you've talked over with the, with the couple, you know, that's your visualization. Ansel Adam said it's the most, or he actually said it's the key to a photograph. So he, he was somebody who talked about visualization all the time because if you just press the shutter without visualizing first, you're missing that whole artistic process and to become a reporter.

    Mark Silber: 00:30:19 Yeah, yeah. You're, you're snapshotting and you're recording rather than creating the second, uh, step in the creative process is knowing your tools and what you described is, you know, if you're a little rusty, you got to kind of get back into gear with your tools. Right. And we all have to do that. Unfortunately, you know, you leave something, sit there on the shelf for awhile, you got to get back into the groove of it. Absolutely. But knowing your tools is incredibly important. Bob Home said, don't let the camera get in the way of your photography. I love that. And you know, we've all had that happen. We've had the camera get in the way of our photographs. So you got to know your camera so well that it doesn't get in the way. Then you work your craft, you get into production, you do whatever it is, whether it's photography or shooting film or writing a book, it's just work.

    Mark Silber: 00:31:09 You know, it's, it's, it's a job not in a bad way, but it's, you have to look at it like that. Writing a book, you have to sit down every day. And Ryan, if every day you don't write the book doesn't write itself, wouldn't be nice. It would be nice. Uh, photographs don't take themselves, you take them. So it's working, making sure you have a schedule, a work schedule, and overcoming the biggest barrier that I believe the biggest excuse would be time. And I devoted a whole chapter to overcoming that barrier. But um, from there you edit and you refine. We all have to, you know, obviously I never let a photograph go anywhere without editing in some way, you know? I'm sure you're the same way. Oh yeah. You know, it doesn't go on Instagram for my camera. It goes via Lightroom and then it goes to Instagram.

    Mark Silber: 00:32:04 But editing has all sorts of different forms to it. You know, there's, there's uh, editing in terms of how to put a body of work together. There's editing your writing, there's editing, even your life, cutting out those things that are distracting. Yesterday I gave advice to somebody, you know, and I said, uh, how many hours a day are you watching TV or playing video games? And I s it was a, it was a fairly sizable number. I said, why don't you invest three of those hours into learning your skills instead of that? Yeah, I mean that's just common advice I would give anyone take that time that you're, you don't feel you have, cause you're using it for something you really don't need to do. It's just, it's an investment. So invest it wisely just like you want to invest money wisely. And then finally, after you've edited, then you're going to share it with others.

    Mark Silber: 00:32:54 And that's the final part of the creative process. And it doesn't mean giving it away for free. It means putting it out there to the world. In some form, whether it's putting it on your wall, a print, you know, that's nicely framed or putting in a book or putting in in an exhibit or in a case of wedding photographers, you know, sh obviously you're sharing it back to the bride and groom and a family, but you're getting it back to the world. You're giving it back to the world and if you get paid for it so much, the better.

    Raymond: 00:33:25 Yeah, no kidding. No kidding. But uh, it's, it's a lot harder to, to pay the bills when you're not getting paid for sure. Yeah,

    Mark Silber: 00:33:31 it really is. I find that extremely satisfying. You know, there's a lot of different ways you can make money, but I think the most satisfying is through a creative process and if you enjoy my creative process, all the better, all the better, all the better. Absolutely.

    Raymond: 00:33:46 As I said earlier, your interview, you have interviewed a lot of people in this book and uh, my favorite was your interview with Keith Cole, who again, as you mentioned earlier, is a motorcycle, not only rider but instructor. And it was his process of taking action with new ideas that really got, uh, my brain flowing. That was cool. That was very cool cause it wasn't, it's not that he's creating something visual to show people, it's that he's creating a process to uh, give to others so that they can create something to show people, I guess in a way, in a way. Uh, what did you find are some of the, uh, other key tools of seriously creative people or I'm sorry, seriously talented people.

    Mark Silber: 00:34:30 Yeah. Well they're both talented and creative. Yeah. You know, here's the biggest one that I think was just that resonated through everyone of these interviews and that's perseverance and persistence because it does take a while sometimes to get your ideas out there. And he is a good example of a guy who really did persist and has become the number one motorcycle. Uh, he has number one training school for motorcycle enthusiasts. Um, but it's, it's getting past those hurdles, especially the inner ones. And virtually everyone of the people I interviewed mentioned something about the inner demons that you have to overcome. It's a really mentioned it, the real thing. You mentioned it just a minute ago, you know that imposter syndrome, you know, they're going to find out, I really don't know what I'm doing. This camera, you know, it's like we all run into this stuff and unfortunately a lot of those can come from an external source.

    Mark Silber: 00:35:29 Somebody who's negative a troll essentially. And you know, the worst thing you can do with that is bring it into your own mind and start using it against yourself. And that just takes some discipline. So I again, I believe that that we each have this inner ability to be creative. I think it's part and parcel of who we are. Uh, whether you consider that it's a spiritual quality, which I haven't to Bambi can trial who I've interviewed a number of times. One of the most amazing portrait and wedding photographers said, you know, look, here's what I consider a photo shoot is all about. It's finding that spirit, the spirit of the person. Anyone can learn to use a camera, but not everybody can cut through and put the person at ease the way she does. Yeah. And, and allow them to show themselves. And those are the things that we have to be able to do to really master the craft.

    Mark Silber: 00:36:31 Geez. Yeah, that's, that's, that's a very good point. That's a very good point. What would you say to, to people who feel like they can't, like they're not good at connecting with people enough to, to, to see their soul, I suppose. Yeah, it's definitely a skill that one has to acquire. And, um, you know, one of these days I might give a workshop just to address that because at the end of the day, you know, you have your, you have your technical skills as a photographer, but then you have your people skills. And, you know, I've done a lot of interviews, not just the, the ones with photographers, but a lot of commercial interviews with CEOs and you know, people who've created incredible startups and so on and so forth. And not everybody's comfortable on camera, as you probably know, right? Very much. Ah, they, they get nervous. They freeze up.

    Mark Silber: 00:37:23 They even start sweating and feel really uncomfortable. And I consider my job. Uh, of course we're going to capture it technically, but my real job is to put them at ease. So it's a set of skills and unfortunately I, you know, the book is a little beyond the, it's beyond the scope of the book, but who knows, maybe I'll teach a workshop just on that because there's definitely skills that want to, one can acquire and using them helps people

    feel who they really are, you know? Yeah, absolutely. I would imagine having that ability to just calm people down is very important tool to have in your tool bag, I suppose it is. So what do you think are some, I guess, why do you think that we need a set of tools for, uh, creativity? Well, in any creative field, whether it's photography, I mean, that's pretty obvious.

    Mark Silber: 00:38:16 Your tools or your camera, your lens is a, you know, all your various pieces of equipment. Like you've got a physical tools. Yeah. Tripod behind you. You know, you've got all these physical tools. Those are pretty obvious in any craft. You know, if you're a writer, it's either, probably not going to be writing with a pen these days. Yeah, no, but you might, you might have a voice recorder. I'd record. I did some of the book, a hidden, a little anecdote about the book. Um, I'm a surfer and uh, I, I had a fairly long, it was like a 45 minute drive to go surfing. And I thought, well, let me try recording some chapters and see how that turns out. Well, it turned out okay, but it turned out I had to do a lot of editing to make it work. Some people I guess can turn on a recorder and it just flows right out.

    Mark Silber: 00:39:07 But for me, I had to, I had to almost do as much work as writing it from the original, but it did give me a framework to work from. But that's a tool, you know, recording, transcribing. These are all various physical tools one uses. And then there's the, the nonphysical tools of knowing how, you know, your editing software works and frame what framing you should use and your, your skills of composition. Uh, you know, these are other tools. You've got to know all those tools because they're all part and parcel of how you're going to create something. You know, I, I walk into a kitchen, I, there's about three meals I have that I can do really well. You know, I've maybe five, maybe I could bump it up to five if I really had say five. Yeah, we'll make a second. Let's say there's five.

    Mark Silber: 00:39:56 I can make incredible pesto. I can barbecue great chicken, I make great salad, and the list kind of dwindles out from there, but at least I can get away with it. And people think, wow, he's pretty good cook. Well, yeah, with those three meals. But then I look at somebody else and another friend of mine who's just totally at home in the kitchen, they know what utensils to use, what, you know, temperature, this, that, and the other thing. They have a wider variety of things that they can master. So knowing those tools is, you know, it's just an extension of your skillset. Because remember, what creativity is, is it's basically making something out of nothing or out of raw materials. First you have to visualize it, but then once you visualize it, you've got to put it together. So, you know, there's all sorts of ways to do that.

    Raymond: 00:40:47 Yeah. I don't know if you've seen that a, that I don't know if it's a new show. Maybe it's an old show on Netflix called, uh, a fat, uh, acid salt. Oh, wait about, there was one episode specifically where, uh, the host, and I forget her name, uh, if she's listening, I apologize. She's not listening, uh, where she goes and she, uh, she's in Italy and, uh, she is creating pesto like from scratch with somebody who has been doing it for like generations. And watching that alone. It's funny that you had said that because watching that alone made me, made me, uh, uh, see it in an entirely different light. You know, the way that she, she almost like weighed like, like counted the pine that's the Geo put into this recipe. And I was like, wow. Down, like down to the, the, the, the smallest little, um, ingredient, you know, she used the tools of this is what works, this is how I know to make this and this is what I'm going to do. And uh, I remembered that I thought of that scene specifically when I was, when I was reading through your book, looking at the, the five elements or the five stages of, uh, creativity. So that was cool that, that you are also a, a, a connoisseur of Pesto as well.

    Mark Silber: 00:41:54 I don't, I, I may, I do make really killer Pesto and I met, I probably will never reveal the secret. Oh no, that's gotta be your last book. That will be my last book making remarkable Pesto.

    Raymond: 00:42:07 Uh, in a recent study that I had sent out to, um, my audience, 23% of the people who answered this survey, uh, of the listeners claimed that they were not. Yeah. And I've thought that that was a, a huge number for people who are trying to get into photography. What would you say are just some simple ways that we can increase our creativity in our everyday life?

    Mark Silber: 00:42:32 Okay. I think, you know, Raymond, I actually believe that number is higher than the average person because think about it, you know, they're already at least photographers, but I think if you walked down the street, I think it becomes a much lower number. Like maybe 40% believe that they are creative. So maybe 60% think they aren't the easiest thing, and this is really simple and it's something that if you follow it, it will improve your creative skills. And that is going to museums, go to museums, look at works of art and it doesn't matter. It doesn't even have to be in your genre at all. In fact, it's sometimes best if it isn't. But, um, whatever museum you have nearby, go to it. Because what you're finding there is you're building your visual library up. What resonates for you? You know, what is it about that Picasso that you really like?

    Mark Silber: 00:43:30 What is it about, you know, Rembrandt, what is it about that sculpture or even, you know, other forms like movies? You know, when I watch movies, I'm looking at the camera shots and I'm looking at, you know, how they framed it and how, you know, how they edited it and timing and music. All these other things are kind of like going into my kind of visual or my library, my mental library and I, you know, that's really cool how they did that. And sometimes the oddest things can stimulate your creativity. One of the guys I interviewed a while ago, Joseph Holmes, fantastic landscape photographer, he, I asked him who his inspiration was and I expected to hear, you know, the usual ansul Adams or Edward West. And he said the Beatles. Wow. Really? He was at the last beetle concert in 1966 and it just blew him away.

    Mark Silber: 00:44:26 And something sparked for him creatively. But you wouldn't, I wouldn't look at a landscape photograph and think that had anything to do with the Beatles, but for him it did. So that's the simplest thing. Just sat out a course of following, you know, various artists and going to museums, looking at them, but really go past, wow, I like this, I don't like that. Try to look at it in terms of what really resonates for you. And I mentioned that in the book. Take a notebook with you and jot these things down. You know, because you're going to come away with, with the ideas that you can then use later. And they may sit there for a long time before you pull them out. It might be years, but you go, you know, I remember something that Leonardo Davinci said, this is actually pretty cool. He said, go around and walk around and look at people, look at them in all sorts of situations.

    Mark Silber: 00:45:27 Look at them when they're angry. Look at them when they're upset. How do they move their hands? What are their feet look like? What is their facial expression look like? That's just material that you can kind of again, plug into your understanding of how people really react in life. Yeah, and he used those little illustrations. You know, he drew, he drew these things and later he came back and used them, uh, you know, in really remarkable ways because he had such a realistic idea of what people actually look like. That's something that really strikes us. You know, that he really observe people and that's a key skill right there.

    Raymond: 00:46:10 And then when it came time to replicate that in one of his pieces of art, he could use that visualization. The last supper reference. Yeah.

    Mark Silber: 00:46:16 Yeah. He'd go, you actually have little sketches of people that he found in various places that he used in the last supper painting. You know, it's pretty amazing.

    Raymond: 00:46:25 I did not know that. I did not know that. That is really cool. Jeez. Yeah. Uh, so, um, I got, like I, I, I mentioned, I think before we started recording, I got a few questions from the love to hear the group. So I asked what kind of questions do you have about creativity? And I thought there's nobody better to ask about this. And surprisingly, I got a lot of questions about composition, so you know, that I link them to okay. Because it's, it's hands down just the best resource, uh, for composition. So the first question came from Wayne and Wayne actually asked a a great question that I think that we covered in our first, or at least that we touched upon in our first interview together back in episode 67. And he wants to know about bridging the creative gap. So he wants to me, he said, bridging the creative gap between what you envisioned and how you make that a reality. He said, I don't know about anybody else, but I have crazy photography based dreams of photos that I would love to capture. And then when I wake up, I have no idea how to start the process. What would you say to Wayne?

    Mark Silber: 00:47:26 You know, Wayne, that's a really good question. That's a discussion I had with Chase Jarvis back in 2008 we had this, uh, we were talking about the creative gap. You know, it just, it's just something you have to work towards and it's a matter of not compromising with your vision. You have a vision, which is great. Just keep working towards it and finding ways to express it because really, ultimately it comes down to your skill. If you can start to match and we're trying to close that gap, you know, maybe it starts out a pretty wide gap between what you visualize and what your actually your visualizations up here and your ability to produce it is here. But as you keep working at, you're going to close that gap and that's really what it's all about. It's just increasing your skill in that area until you can close that gap.

    Raymond: 00:48:22 It takes a lot. It takes a lot. It takes a lot. And I think that, uh, one thing that has helped me in the past when I've had an idea for a photo is a digging your advice. Just having that notebook, kind of writing it down, thinking about, well, what would I say to the person in front of me to get them to look the way, uh, that I want to and enabled to know what I want to say. I have to know exactly how I want them to look. And there's there's or that visualization, uh, comes in. But exactly. I think of the day like it's all, it's all just like putting in the time, putting in the time behind the camera, doing the work, getting to know everything about your cameras, situation, how it reads lights so that when the time comes you're just that much closer. Exactly. Yup. Okay. So the next question that I got was from Charlene and she wants to know this is, this is one that a lot of people struggle with. She wants to know, I'm curious as to when a piece stops being just a photograph and it becomes art.

    Mark Silber: 00:49:16 Oh boy, that's an age old question. Yeah. When is it art? When is it just a, a reproduction of what's in front of you and that discussion has been going on for, you know, really it, it, Ansell Adams is one of the first photographers that crossed that gap in and I think that it, it really has to do with, you know, what is art? Art is something that you're creating, but it's very subjective also. You know, what's beautiful, what isn't beautiful. You know, music is a perfect example. Um, you know, there's a lot of rap music that Rosemay the wrong way, but then I can hear, let's say m and, m I think. Wow, that's pretty cool. I just listened to the rhythm and it's very poetic, but it's, it's, it's very subjective and photography is the same way. I'd say the answer to that is if you're just being a recording person, you're recording a scene by pushing the shutter.

    Mark Silber: 00:50:15 Uh, that's not necessarily being an artist. It's not necessarily being creative. But if you're doing something beyond that where you're, you're highlighting the, or, you know, Ansul Adam said, you know, people consider me a, a realistic photographer. It's just not realistic. You don't see skies that are black and, and pure white and pure black. And he said he's manipulating this whole scene, you know, in the dark room. But that makes him an artist because he's changing something about what's out there. Or He's putting it in a certain

    way that, you know, you can stop and see the beauty of it. But my only advice, because this is really a discussion that's a really a pretty fundamental philosophical discussion, um, is to, to really understand what it is you're trying to create. And the best way to do that is get your dictionary out and look up some of these keywords.

    Mark Silber: 00:51:17 Look up creativity. Look up are, I do have these definitions in my book. I make it a little easier for you, but by understanding those words, this is something mark Isom, who's a musician friend of mine, won multiple awards. A, the guy is just unbelievable. But he said really understanding, uh, that these concepts in these words really helped him out with his art. So, because at the end of the day, it's something we all have to decide for ourselves. What is art, what it is, what's your art? You know, I know the difference between, for me, you know, I take a lot of pictures just to record the moment, you know. Sure. Somebody's birthday party. I'm not trying to turn that into work of art, right? But I want to, I want to take a shot. I want to remember it. I know that I'm not creating art at that moment. Sometimes you surprise yourself though.

    Raymond: 00:52:12 No. Okay. That's a good point. I want to ask you then because I think as, as we become more skilled, as we build those tools, uh, that we have suddenly for us, maybe just a snapshot has some artistic intention, right? The photos that we take, we're now framing in a different way than just pulling up our phone and taking the photo. We're like true. Pulling the camera up and pointing it down or something. Is that, is that still just a snapshot because now you've introduced that artistic intention?

    Mark Silber: 00:52:38 No, I don't think so at all. I think that what you're doing is so natural to you as a photographer that it doesn't seem like much, but to the average person, you're doing something. Okay. Here's a perfect example. Uh, I was at a restaurant with a friend. Um, the head chef came over to give him something. They actually gave him a bottle of, uh, olive oil that had been brought over from Italy. And, uh, so he said, would you take a picture? You know, and I took, you know, I held up my iPhone and I said, hey, move over here, move there, change the bat, you know, clean up the background a little bit and took the photograph. It didn't seem like anything to me. I wasn't, I wasn't thinking I was creating a work of art. Uh, I may have even put it on mode to blur the background. Even if I did and I cleaned it, certainly cleaned up the background and framed it. And my friend said afterwards, you know, watching you is amazing because I saw your skills come out and just the iPhone photograph. But to me, I didn't even notice. It just seemed like brushing my teeth, you know? Okay. Hey, you're doing a good job, mark. Really, I'm just brushing my teeth. Yeah. So I think it's, yeah. So maybe I could turn that into, um, a work of art

    Raymond: 00:53:55 there for that line is, is so blurred. It's so blurred. You know, it's interesting stuff. Well.

    Mark Silber: 00:54:02 Okay, look at some of these artists like Banksy or, uh, Andy Warhol, you know, with, with the classic, uh, Campbell Soup. Yeah. How come that's art, but it is, it definitely is.

    Raymond: 00:54:14 Yeah. Yeah. I think, uh, yeah. I don't know. I mean it's so, it's so subjective. It's so hard to tell. It really is it really true to it? Um, so you are a photographer, so I'm excited to get your perspective on this. I want to know what you think is one of the biggest actionable takeaways that, uh, one of the listeners can take away, uh, from your book.

    Mark Silber: 00:54:37 Wow. Read the whole thing. Let's start there. That's step number one. The biggest takeaway is this, I would say is that one can improve their creative skills. It's not just something that is inherent or there's no control over it or whatever. This is similar to my premise when I started my composition book because uh, you know, I realized a lot of people

    had asked me, you know, for advice with composition and I really didn't have a good answer for them because I felt that it was a fairly intuitive thing that you had to just sort of learn the feel of it and blah, blah blah. And then I realized, wait a minute, that's not really, that's not how you learn how to cook. So how you learn how to paint, you know, you follow some sort of template, right? So I thought there must be a template to composition and sure enough, you know, like I came away with these 83 compositional elements.

    Mark Silber: 00:55:35 Now it's really important to understand those are not in dolls right there. They're just elements and you still have to put them to work. You still have to, you know, put the rest of your creativity in, into the photograph. But if you know these skills, if they're in your mind, chances are you're going to be able to pull them out and use them when you need to. And I think that the biggest takeaway that I hope people get is that you can improve your creativity. You, it isn't something that, you know, levels off and that's it. You can work at it and you can strip away the things that get in the way of your creativity. And I tried to give people exercises. By the way, at the end of every chapter I have summary questions where I try to ask questions that get people to really look at the material they've just read because it does absolutely no good to just intellectualize it. You have to put it to work, you have to make a change. Otherwise it's like reading a book on um, Yoga, but never doing one yoga exercise,

    Raymond: 00:56:42 every photography, Youtube video on the Internet and not picking up a camera,

    Mark Silber: 00:56:46 not picking up a camera or watching cooking shows and never going into the kitchen. So you've got to go past the intellectual phase of this thing. That's why I asked those questions. And at the right below that I give action steps. And in my action steps, one of the things I asked for excuses that you had for these various things, like I brushed on it and we don't really have time to get into it in detail, but time is probably the biggest excuse. I just don't have enough time, you know? Yeah. We have to make the time and we have to carve out, you know, the excess stuff where we're wasting time and put it to use where you want it to go.

    Raymond: 00:57:26 I've got to admit, uh, as I got to the end of each chapter, I, uh, was looking forward to and both dreading that part because it was like, oh, here we go. Now I gotta look at myself and face all of my flaws. Uh, but it was truly helpful and that was definitely the hardest question of, of, of, uh, what excuses can you come up with to not do that. So, uh, but overall wonderful. Uh, mark, I truly enjoyed our chat today. I know that we're running out of time and I truly enjoyed our chat today. Can you let the listeners know where they can find you online and where they can get a copy of your new book?

    Mark Silber: 00:57:58 Absolutely. So mark Silber on Amazon, m a R C S I l B e r will lead you to my books and create, you'll find we'll be there, uh, or go to probably a better yet. Go to my website, Silber studios.com and that's sil, B as in boy e r studios.com. From there you'll see links to the books. This one and my previous books. You'll also see resource pages. We're adding resources for what's in the book so you can easily look things up and follow up on things. But those are the easiest ways to find the book. And I even have a preorder bonus if you order it, uh, and come back to my website. There's a free download, which is a quick start guide to creativity. How about that?

    Raymond: 00:58:49 Really? That's interesting. That's, yeah, that's really exciting. That's really exciting. Um, I dunno if this will be in, I'm not sure exactly when the a episode will come out, but um, when does the book officially launch? July 23rd July. Oh yeah, no, it will definitely be out by then. Okay, perfect. Perfect.

    Mark Silber: 00:59:06 So, so if you, or if you order it before then just go ahead and get your preorder bonus. You'll get it shipped as soon as the book comes out.

    Raymond: 00:59:14 Awesome. Well, again, mark, thank you so much for your time. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and thank you for putting it together. These books that have so

    Raymond: 00:59:22 many people including, uh, my audience. Uh, it was a pleasure to talk with you today. Thank you Raymond. My pleasure as well. It is always a pleasure chatting with mark. He has this down to earth approach to some, you know, sometimes pretty complicated ideas and you know, just hearing his view is really refreshing. My biggest takeaway for this episode was just how much, how much creativity can truly be incorporated in our everyday lives. It doesn't have to be the main thing. You don't have to create one thing to be creative. And you know, creativity doesn't have to be all a bright colors and a whimsical design. It can be everywhere in meal planning, in how you pack your camera gear in, how you learn something new. It is everywhere. It is everywhere. And that that I hope that I know you are going to take away, uh, definitely from his book if you pick it up.

    Raymond: 01:00:22 So again, you can pick up a copy of Mark's new book on Amazon and again, a highly recommend that you do so. Or You can win yourself a copy by enrolling in auto two. Amazing today. So to learn more about auto to amazing, just head over to learn dot beginner photography podcast.com or click the link in the show notes now. So that is it for this week's interview. Until next week, I want you to get out. I want you to keep shooting. I want you to focus on yourself and I want you to stay safe. All right, that's it. I love you all.

    Outtro: 01:01:01 If you enjoy today's podcast, please leave us a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast player and continue the conversation with Raymond and other listeners of the podcast by joining the beginner photography podcast Facebook group today. Thank you. We'll see you again next week.

    BPP 156: GFWiliams - Commercial Supercar Photography

    GFWilliams is an automotive photographer from Great Britain. He has been ranked as one of the top supercar automotive photographers to follow online, take one look at his work and it’s clear to see why.

    Become A Premium Member is access to more in-depth questions that help move you forward!

    In This Episode You'll Learn:

    • How George got his start in photography

    • The hardest part about photography to learn

    • The job description of an automotive photographer

    • How to create a story in your image when your subject has no face

    • How much planning is involved in an automotive shoot

    • The importance of light and artificial light

    • The biggest mistakes new automotive photographers make

    Premium Members Also Learn:

    • Who hires Automotive photographers

    • How to book your first magazine shoot

    • Selling your photos vs licensing and how George is changing the industry

    • What kind of gear you need to be taken seriously as a professional

    Resources:

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    Did you enjoy this episode? Check out more recent interviews with other great guests!